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SMBs must adopt IPv6 as IPv4 fades away

By Donna Donnowitz
August 31, 2011
A report by EFY Times News Network says that, with IPv4 no longer an option, it is now time for small- and medium-sized businesses to make up their minds to switch over to IPv6 to catch up, contends KP Unnikrishnan, marketing director of Brocade Communications, Asia Pacific.

Speaking during his recent visit to India, Unnikrishnan emphasised the critical need of IPv6 and moribund status of IPv4.

"The era of IPv4 addresses is over. This is the transition phase from IPv4 to IPv6. Indian SMBs will have no choice but to resort to IPv6. It will be good for these businesses if they prepare themselves for adopting IPv6 sooner than later," Unnikrshnan told the news source.

IPv6 was primarily created to increase the number of unique addresses from approximately 4.3 billion in IPv4 to 340 billion, billion, billion, billion, says the report. In addition, IPv6 provides other valuable capabilities like more efficient addressing, automated server and device configuration, added security measures and improved mobile device performance.

IPv6 is an issue for SMBs because IPv6 addresses are not compatible with the current address type. Therefore, it is not possible or economical to replace all computing and networking equipment and devices to support both IPv6 and IPv4, the report says.

Fortunately, there are several financially viable options to help SMBs easily switch to IPv6. These include: ISP-provided IPv6 network address translation service, dual-stack routers, tunneling, and network address translation.

The report adds that SMBs need to create a business case for investing in and migrating to IPv6. Companies need to conduct a network audit and identify which equipment only supports IPv4 and which equipment is IPv6-ready. SMBs should also talk to their ISPs about their ability to support IPv6 and about any NAT options they offer. Finally, organizations need to develop a plan, schedule, budget and business proposal for moving to IPv6 in phases. SMBs need to remember that migration will not happen overnight. It will take some time and involve many steps, according to the report.

In a Network World survey that was conducted earlier this year, most companies said that they'll be on IPv6 in less than 18 months. With so much being written about IPv6, it is not unusual for companies to be wondering if they are ahead of the curve, behind the curve or entirely off the map with their IPv6 plans.


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