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Native IPv6 should be emphasized, report says

By Donna Donnowitz
October 13, 2011
Migrating to the IPv6 internet address protocol can be a major challenge for many businesses, but the widespread success of World IPv6 Day last June showed that some aspects of supporting IPv6 are easy to accomplish, according to a recent ITProPortal report.

While certain parts of IPv6 migration can be accomplished with ease, the sense of urgency around the process is becoming more pressing. The news source explained the Asia-Pacific address allocation registry is already out of available IPv4 addresses, and most of the world's distribution centers will have their IPv4 repositories run dry before the middle of 2012. Africa has an unusually long lifecycle for IPv4, with its addresses expected to last until approximately 2015.

As a result, most of the world will be running a much larger percentage of IPv6-enabled devices within the next few years. However, the report pointed out that IPv4 will still be active as some regions will still be distributing addresses and many devices currently using IPv4 will still be active.

This is creating an environment where most organizations need to establish dual-stack infrastructure to enable both protocols simultaneously. While this works as a stop-gap solution while both IPv4 and IPv6 are active, the report said more organizations need to begin focusing on native IPv6 connections.

Since everything from lights, to television sets and even cars are being connected to the internet, unifying connectivity formats is a key step in helping the industry moving forward. The report explained network device manufacturers, service providers and product designers need to develop a unified strategy to bring native IPv6 to a wide range of objects so everything will be ready to handle the new protocol when it becomes more dominant.

Moving to native IPv6 brings a new set of problems with it beyond simple network migration. According to a recent CSO report, a number of new security threats are emerging that are designed specifically to attack vulnerabilities created by IPv6. While IPv6 is widely recognized as a theoretically superior protocol in terms of security, the news source points out that it is so new to many organizations that experts have yet to resolve some basic vulnerabilities that can be exploited. For example, IPv6's dependence on Neighbor Discovery Protocol creates the potential for unauthorized network access.


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