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IPv6 adoption taking a multi-layered path

By Max Burkhalter
May 11, 2011
Confusion still abounds regarding the migration to the new IPv6 internet address protocol. The only truly clear elements of the IPv6 transition are that it is urgent and it could create new revenue opportunities.

However, service providers and businesses alike are still uncertain about just how urgent IPv6 is and how much revenue they can generate through the new standard, CRN reports. This confusion is not too surprising, the report explained, because IPv6 represents a dramatic change in IT infrastructure that requires significant adaptation of network architectures, such as Ethernet port technologies and switching solutions.

Overall, the report said service providers are the most prepared for the IPv6 protocol. After interviewing a number of internet and telephone service providers, CRN concluded that most have been working toward IPv6 for a few years and see a number of key revenue opportunities in the technology. One of those opportunities is demand. Once all of of the IPv4 addresses have been distributed to consumers, IPv6 will be the only address type that can be assigned to new devices. Service providers that are not ready for IPv6 could quickly fall behind when they do run out of IPv4 addresses.

For businesses, the motivating factors to get ready for IPv6 are not as clear, the report said, and many do not recognize the ways that IPv6 can help them generate revenue. Therefore, many companies are beginning to hoard IPv4 addresses. This is creating a somewhat unique trading economy in which businesses attempt to wrestle IPv4 addresses from companies that are going bankrupt, closing or getting rid of IPv4 addresses that they will not use for other reasons.

"I think in the next 12 months we're talking about gray markets and some major providers just hanging on to IPv4 addresses," Jon McCarrick, product marketing manager for Parallels, told the news source. "There is a certain amount of recycling that goes on, in that companies say, 'It's probably best for me to turn off some of these services and addresses I haven't used for for a while.'"

Service provider readiness for IPv6 is not entirely surprising. InformationWeek reports the industry has been aware of IPv4's dwindling cache of addresses for years. However, the report said all organizations need to recognize the urgency of IPv6 adoption because it can take a long time to redesign network architecture to support the protocol.


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