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Infrastructure key to IPv6 success

By Max Burkhalter
September 15, 2011
The relative urgency surrounding the need to support IPv6 has created a situation where much of the industry is distracted from the real issues surrounding the new protocol, IT Business Edge reports.

According to the news source, World IPv6 Day and other similar IPv6-related efforts have focused almost entirely on getting websites to work in such a way that they can support incoming IPv6 traffic. While this is clearly an important consideration as more dedicated IPv6 devices hit the market, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, the report said businesses that focus too much on getting their websites ready for IPv6 could miss the more important part of the transition - infrastructure.

To emphasize how far behind infrastructure is when it comes to supporting IPv6 in a meaningful way, the report's author leans on personal experience. With a home nestled relatively close to San Francisco and the Silicon Valley region of California, one would think IPv6 services would be available. However, the author said individuals and businesses in his community have almost no access to IPv6 and other high-performance internet capabilities.

This shows just how little progress many businesses have made in terms of IPv6, since even a community that is part of the country's technological hub is not ready for the new protocol, the report said. While getting websites ready to handle IPv6 traffic is happening, few businesses and service providers are at a point where they are working heavily on the infrastructure that makes IPv6 and its advanced networking capabilities possible. As a result, the report said the country is likely set up for an extended migration period that may take as long as 10 years.

The extended nature of the migration period is caused by the complex nature of IPv6 migration. The report explained getting infrastructure switched over to IPv6 is challenging on a number of levels and businesses will likely face major difficulties attempting to make the transition in a short period of time.

Migrating to IPv6 is becoming critical, in part, because international registries are running out of IPv4 addresses to give out. However, network address translation and address conservation efforts will likely keep IPv4 relevant for at least a few years. As a result, some businesses are not approaching the transition to IPv6 with much urgency. This could create problems because the new protocol represents such a dramatic change in networking processes that the transition could be much more difficult than some think.


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