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Managed file transfer industry making strides in IPv6 adoption

By Donna Donnowitz
June 10, 2011
IPv6 migration is a critical technological trend that is set to impact almost every company. Organizations in the managed file transfer industry have been working toward IPv6 compatibility, but they still have some progress to make before the standard becomes active.

A recent study performed by File Transfer Consulting found most file transfer providers have made progress toward IPv6 adoption, but they are still experiencing significant challenges in achieving complete IPv6 compatibility.

Upgrading network infrastructure to support IPv6 can be incredibly challenging, because every aspect of the network must be interoperable while accessing both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Therefore, legacy systems often need to be replaced, new hardware frequently needs configuration and significant investments need to be made to transition the infrastructure to IPv6.

Andy White, CTO for File Transfer Consulting, explained that the complexity of IPv6 migration is often why companies struggle to make the transition. He said many organizations think becoming IPv6 compliant is just about updating routers and switches. However, any system involved in the file transfer process needs to be updated to work compatibly with IPv6 transmissions.

This complexity is illustrated by the areas where the study discovered most of the compatibility issues. File transfer systems often require complex infrastructure that is interdependent to work. For example, the report said, most of the problems with IPv6 occurred when using FTP and FTPS systems, both of which require multiple internet connections to function properly.

While the study found many companies still have work to do before they will be IPv6 compliant, it also discovered that most businesses in the sector are making progress toward the new standard. Multiple respondents told File Transfer Consulting they are about to make a major push toward IPv6 adoption and plan to have fully compatible networks soon.

Many business sectors are showing a steady move toward IPv6 adoption. A recent Neustar study cited cloud computing and the diverse range of devices connecting to the internet as key motivators behind IPv6 migration. Neustar also found itsusers are working toward IPv6 deployment, as IPv6 queries are increasing in frequency. In May 2010, just 745 million IPv6 queries were sent in Neustar's networks. Approximately 1.4 billion IPv6 queries were sent during May 2011, a 198 percent increase over the previous year's results.


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