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Network World: Go native with IPv6 deployment

By Donna Donowitz
February 4, 2011
On Tuesday, the announcement that the final batches of IPv4 addresess had been issued circulated, presenting many network operators with a sense of finality - either adopt expensive translation equipment allowing others to latch on to other, existing IPv4 addresses, or upgrade to IPv6.

So while many of these operators deliberate over this decision, a recent Network World article presented advice to those who chose the latter option - go native. By native, Network World writer Scott Hogg mean deploying native dual-protocol internet connectivity, which can access both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

Hogg points out several companies (Facebook, NetFlix, Cisco, CNN) that have begun creating IPv6-only domain names, which have received protest from industry giant Google. While Google does have its own IPv6-only site,, it offers a DNS-whitelist program, where users can access all of its site using native IPv6.

Google is currently working with Microsoft and Netflix to help them offer similar sites, which could potentially avoid "IPv6-brokenness," as Hogg calls it. While a report in 2010 from the Internet Society found IPv6 capability in the internet is only at 5 percent, Hogg believes the brokenness will decline rapidly throughout the year. To test the level of this brokenness, several sites will participate in a one-day trial - dubbed "World IPv6 Day" - where they will support native IPv6 traffic.

"It's an exciting opportunity to take IPv6 for a test flight and try it on for a full 24 hours," said Leslie Daigle, the Internet Society's chief internet technology officer. "Hopefully, we will see positive results from this trial so we will see more IPv6 sooner rather than later."

Lastly, Hogg mentions that going native involves one more step - instead of using IPv4 tunnels - where these tunnels take IPv6 packets and encapsulate them in IPv4 packets to be sent across portions of the network that haven't been upgraded to IPv6 - companies need to run IPv6 directly.Tunneling presents problems network devices like terminal servers for many reasons, chief among them being security, as it becomes tough to track communication over transient tunnels.

So going native when it comes to IPv6 seems the best route for companies to avoid potential problems involving this IP switch. Luckily for users, IPv6 has 2-to-the-128th power number of addresses available, meaning another switch like this shouldn't occur for quite some time.


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