Friday, May 13, 2011
IPv6 adoption critical for long-term revenue growth
Migrating to the IPv6 address protocol seems, to many businesses, like a financial dead end. It requires significant investment in network infrastructure but does not create any direct revenue opportunities. However, a recently published book on the topic, entitled "IPv6 for Enterprise Networks," argues that the new standard should be a priority in enterprise settings because it offers a number of key advantages and potential revenue opportunities.
Prioritizing IPv6, the book said, is primarily about not taking shortcuts to get IPv6-ready and fully embracing the new standard. The book explained that many companies are using network address translation technology as a short-term solution to the IPv6 problem. NAT systems convert an IPv4 address into a single, simple address that compiles multiple IPv4 devices in an enterprise network. This is extending the life of the dwindling number of IPv4 addresses, and helping many businesses avoid prioritizing IPv6.
However, the book said that NAT technology is a shortcut that undercuts the long-term success of an IPv6 migration and makes it harder for the enterprise to adjust to the new protocol. IPv6 is designed to be a complete replacement for IPv4, not simply a small addition that only a few businesses and consumers engage in. If it is treated that way, the book said, the potential is there to make major improvements in network management, performance and transparency.
While the necessity for IPv6 seems quite clear, many businesses will still be slow to engage the new protocol if they can avoid the investment. However, the book emphasizes a few key revenue and performance capabilities created by IPv6 that could change that attitude.
An evolved network infrastructure is one major advantage of the IPv6 protocol, according to the book. IPv6 infrastructure can support advanced applications and web-based programs that are not possible using IPv4. This can give companies making the transition the opportunity to engage consumers in a more meaningful way and drive extra revenues.
One of the keys to IPv6 readiness in the enterprise is recognizing a clear intent from consumers to actually use the IPv6 protocol. Surprisingly, the video game industry may be creating this intent. Understand the benefits of IPv6, popular massively multiplayer online role playing game, World of Warcraft, is giving its users, which number in the millions, the opportunity to use IPv6 when available. A recent Computerworld report said this tactic could push IPv6 adoption among service providers by showing that consumers are ready for the protocol.