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IPv6 urgency varies based on geographical location

By Max Burkhalter
June 24, 2011
Migrating network equipment to IPv6 is likely to happen at varied paces throughout the world depending on the availability of IPv4 addresses. As a result, transitioning to the new address standard could be uniquely challenging as both IPv4 and IPv6 will have to be supported by many organizations for at least a few years.

According to a recent Technology Review report, the United States currently boasts a large quantity of available IPv4 addresses, making IPv6 migration less of a priority in the country. The report said many major U.S. companies, including Ford, IBM, Apple and HP, received as many as 17 million IPv4 addresses during IPv4's early days. Many of these addresses remain unused and will likely keep IPv4 active for a long time.

Overall, the report said the United States currently has approximately 1.5 billion available IPv4 addresses. This represents approximately 40 percent of all available IPv4 addresses in the world, according to the report.

China and India, on the other hand, are not nearly as well equipped with IPv4 addresses. The report said India currently has approximately 35 million IPv4 addresses to spread over a population of 1.1 billion. China is in a similar predicament, with 400 million internet users and just 330 million IPv4 addresses. These regions are likely to lead IPv6 deployment because they have rapidly-growing internet audiences but lack the IPv4 addresses to disperse throughout the population.

The report explained that the Asia Pacific Network Information Center, which distributes IP addresses for countries in the Asia-Pacific region, has the lowest number of IPv4 addresses available. This is making the region it controls, which includes China, India, Australia and Japan, one of the fastest-growing areas for IPv6 deployment.

While some regions move forward toward IPv6, others need to adjust to the new protocol's impact in international markets. A Campus Technology report explains this issue well when it says that many institutions are concerned about what will happen if they do not get their websites IPv6 ready so they can accept incoming IPv6 network requests.

Vince Stoffer, network security administrator at Reed College, told the news source many academic institutions are not worried about running out of IPv4 addresses. Instead, they are concerned about what will happen when consumers in Asia transfer to IPv6 and try to connect to their websites. Therefore, many are deploying IPv6-ready websites, while waiting to invest in other IPv6 infrastructure.


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