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Most businesses not ready for IPv6, survey found

By Donna Donnowitz
May 11, 2011
The overwhelming message from industry experts and studies in recent weeks has been that telecommunications service providers have moved with a general sense of urgency to adopt IPv6-compatible equipment. At the same time, most believe that businesses do not see a revenue-related incentive to invest in IPv6 and are therefore slow to adopt.

A recent survey performed by Ipswitch Incorporated found that general industry beliefs are proving true and most businesses are not ready for IPv6. The survey asked respondents to rate their IPv6 readiness based on what percentage of their network infrastructure was ready for the protocol. Just 12 percent of respondents said that 80 to 100 percent of their network architecture was IPv6-ready. Conversely, 66.1 percent of respondents said their network was between 0 and 20 percent of the way to full IPv6-compatibility.

Another 21.9 percent of respondents fell somewhere between the high and low extremes, but the survey makes it clear that many businesses are not moving quickly to adopt IPv6, something that Kevin Gillis, vice president of product management and strategy for Ipswitch Incorporated's network management division, thinks is a mistake.

"While IPv6 provides the ability to greatly expand the number of devices on the Internet, it also poses migration, compatibility and management challenges for today's IPv4-based networks," said Gillis. "Our poll shows the need for companies to develop transition strategies in order to increase IPv6 readiness among enterprise networks and prevent any future disruption to mission-critical systems."

According to TMCnet's report on the Ipswitch survey, the IPv6 protocol is close to become a necessity in enterprise settings. The report explained that the world's IPv4 addresses are close to running out and a switch to IPv6 is imminent. IPv6 will allow businesses to continue their investments in new devices capable of connecting to the internet. Furthermore, the new address protocol offers security advantages that are not possible within the IPv4 system, the report said.

The lack of readiness for IPv6 is somewhat surprising, as the new standard has been available for almost 15 years and some parts of the world are already out of IPv4 addresses, Ars Technica reports. Citing an Arbor Networks study, the report points out that native IPv6 use is growing, but at such a slow rate that it only matches IPv4 growth.


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