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Clear concerns mounting for IPv6 migration

By Max Burkhalter
June 8, 2011
The number of things that could go wrong when the world turns to the IPv6 internet address protocol is high, but a few key areas of focus are emerging. Among them are equipment compatibility and software support.

A recent PCWorld report explained these two issues are emerging as key for IPv6 migration because most systems have been designed to support short IPv4 addresses and cannot be easily transferred to work with IPv6.

For the IPv6 migration to work, every aspect of connecting to the internet must be fine-tuned for compatibility. With IPv4 addresses, this was never really a major issue, because the internet evolved slowly over time into the large, complex system it is today. With IPv6, equipment and software will have to be reinvented at a scope that is capable of servicing the complete web landscape.

Brooks Fitzsimmons, assistant vice president for IPv6 Transition at AT&T, told the news source that compatibility can be difficult to achieve in many network setups. The challenge stems from diverse equipment types used to create network infrastructure. He explained that equipment from diverse product generations can be extremely difficult to operate compatibly when trying to convert to IPv6.

While equipment and software issues create definite challenges for IPv6 adoption, they are not stopping many service providers from embracing the migration. Overall, the pace of transitioning to the IPv6 protocol will likely be determined by how quickly different regions run out of IPv4 addresses, industry expert Christian Jacquenet told the news source.

Jacquenet explained such countries as Poland are moving quickly to IPv6, and they will migrate to the new protocol within a year. France, on the other hand, will likely cling to IPv4 until 2014. Furthermore, migrating the country's infrastructure will be an arduous process because the IPv4 networks are so large.

The complexity of deploying IPv6-compliant networking systems is becoming clear. In a recent Inquirer report, industry expert Axel Pawlik said many experts have been warning companies that IPv6 migration will require significant strategic planning and infrastructure overhaul, but many have not responded with the proper urgency.

As a result, Pawlik said he hopes early trials of IPv6 deployments, such as World IPv6 Day, will expose how challenging IPv6 deployment will be and give companies a clearer idea of how complex the transition to the new protocol can be.


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