Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Despite hiccups, progress toward IPv6 standards continues
Transitioning into IPv6 is unlikely to be the huge chore that some tech pundits say it is, but there are still a number of issues that can cause an IT department serious headaches if not dealt with properly.
According to Ars Technica, it's about time major providers and networks get on the IPv6 bandwagon. The tech news site reports that a group called Internet2 is calling for the implementation of super-fast connectivity among important social institutions, enabling the use of distance learning services and telemedicine to a hitherto unprecedented extent.
The group said in a recent grant application that the current internet infrastructure is insufficient for the support of the new functions that will characterize the next iteration of the internet, Ars Technica reports.
"[Current networks] do not provide the necessary transparency required to immediately trouble-shoot application-crippling problems across networks. They also do not generally offer next-generation internet technologies like IPv6 and IP multicast, which are critical to certain applications," Internet2 asserts.
Additionally, the rapid growth in mobile internet usage has raised the issue of security for IPv6. Until recently, the way mobile devices interacted with IPv6 caused them to broadcast their hardware address when connecting, allowing them to be easily identified by anyone else on the network, according to security publication the H. While the bug has been fixed on devices running Apple's iOS mobile operating system, Android users are still vulnerable, the news source says. This type of privacy concern must be addressed before mobile IPv6 can be described as secure, though it's unknown whether a significant security threat is posed by the vulnerability.
This revelation comes as Verizon announces its transition to IPv6 for dedicated internet services users, upgrading its network backbone in order to be able to handle both IPv6 and IPv4 traffic. The company says it uses "native" IPv6 connections, concurrent IPv6 and IPv4 traffic, and tunneling, which is the use of IPv6 data contained within IPv4 packets. The services are currently available in the U.S., Asia and Europe, and will be rolled out for customers in Canada and Latin America later this year.