Monday, October 31, 2011
IPv6 overcomes many IPv4 annoyances
For many network operators, IPv4 is beginning to grind away at the nerves. The protocol is inferior to IPv6, from a technical perspective, and requires a number of potentially frustrating complementary systems to make it work well, according to a recent Register report.
As a result, much of the industry is looking forward to IPv6 instead of simply dreading it as the inevitable future or next Y2K disaster. The news source said that businesses that are able to effectively make the transition to IPv6 will likely be unrecognized, as customers wonder why the prices changed and what the big deal was about this new protocol. However, network management workers will still appreciate the protocol because it overcomes many of the annoying technologies that must be used to support IPv4.
Network address translation is one of the technologies that will be rendered unnecessary when IPv6 eventually becomes dominant, the report said. Other practices that may no longer be necessary when IPv6 comes into its own include address rationing, dynamic IP addresses and other systems that are put into place to preserve IPv4 for as long as possible. While these technologies are good at what they are meant to do, they often add annoying steps to network management. These are needed to make IPv4 work effectively, their removal should help IPv6 perform far better than its predecessor.
The report said that IPv6 is so superior to IPv4 that it may difficult to understand why the new protocol, which has been around for more than a decade, is only now beginning to take hold. However, it is important to remember that few businesses will make major infrastructure investments unless there is a clear need. Now, the necessity of IPv6 is becoming critical because new IPv4 addresses are running dry.
While IPv6's superiority over IPv4 is clear, the differences between the two technologies is equally apparent. These distinctions could prove problematic as the security protocols that work well with IPv4 may actually make IPv6 less secure. Geoff Huston, chief scientist with the Asia Pacific Network Information Center, recently told audiences at the IPv6 Summit that the new protocol completely changes the core nature of many network attacks, CSO reported. The nature of this shift is such that continuing security methods used for IPv4 could make IPv6-enabled networks more susceptible to attack.
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