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IPv4 may have to be extended to smooth transition to IPv6

By Donna Donnowitz
November 10, 2011
The move to the emerging IPv6 protocol is imminent. The number of IPv4 addresses that international registries have to give out are running dry. However, businesses, service providers and equipment manufacturers may have been so slow to prepare for the new IPv6 protocol that they will need to extend IPv4 until the world is ready to move to the new protocol on a large scale, Network World reported.

According to the news source, IPv4 will likely be around for a couple more decades regardless of what happens with IPv6, but the inherent incompatibility of the two protocols means businesses will need to use dual-stack and other setups to make their networks function. This creates an environment where the move to IPv6 is happening at the same time as businesses are clinging to IPv4. As a result, many organizations have spent so long ignoring the inevitability of IPv6 that they are suddenly forced to scramble to catch up.

The problem is that the combination of dwindling IPv4 addresses and not enough IPv6 deployment has limited the internet's growth. A number of emerging technologies, including smart grid, cloud computing and intelligent building, are all dependent on the ability to connect sensors, lights, meters and mobile devices to the internet. The lack of readily available IPv4 addresses has slowed the development of these technologies. Since so few have migrated to IPv6, organizations trying to deploy innovative technologies cannot depend the protocol for support, the report said.

Because so many technologies are being limited by the lack of available IPv4 addresses, it is important that organizations deploy technologies that extend the life of IPv4. However, this is not meant to replace moving to IPv6. Instead, the focus is on making IPv4 last long enough to support innovation until more of the world is ready for IPv6, according to the news source.

While extending IPv4 may be necessary, the overwhelming message from many reports is that the time has come to move to IPv6. For example, a recent Forbes report said there are many options available to make IPv4 last as long as possible. While these procedures are workable, none is the long-term answer for the internet's future that IPv6 provides.

Perle’s serial to Ethernet converters connect serial based equipment across an Ethernet network. The Perle IOLAN range of Console Servers, Device Servers and Terminal Servers feature built-in support for IPv6 along with a broad range of authentication methods and encryption technologies.


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