Monday, March 07, 2011
Despite a number of notable hiccups in the implementation of the new IPv6 internet protocol - particularly in the consumer sector - large-scale shifts away from the current IPv4 standard could happen a lot more quickly than many people think, according to Jeff Doyle, writing for Network World.
While, for the most part, the online content internet consumers are interested in is still hosted via IPv4, several of the very biggest providers - including YouTube, Netflix, and Google - are making significant moves in the direction of IPv6, Doyle says.
A consultant, he says that he expects his client base to change dramatically over the next several months.
"I'm beginning to get calls from content providers looking for help in getting a plan together. My purely casual view is that this segment of the networking industry is where most service providers were about five years ago," Doyle says, noting that his current clientele is made up exclusively of service providers.
Still farther away from widespread IPv6 adoption are enterprise users, according to Doyle. Nevertheless, there have been a few early adopters like Bechtel and HSBC, and others are beginning to take note. He says many firms have come to him asking questions about the need for and viability of switching to IPv6.
While acknowledging the current primacy of IPv4, Doyle asserts that the ongoing depletion of those internet addresses will make for an increasingly urgent shift in the direction of IPv6 as time goes on. The problems that have caused IPv6 systems not to play well with their older analogs should get resolved as time goes on and the need for IPv6 becomes more and more obvious.
Eventually, Doyle writes, IPv6 advocates like himself will be concerned primarily with transitioning older systems to the new protocol. Some network operators - within the next few years, according to Doyle - will start phasing out IPv4 completely, in order to avoid the necessity of monitoring and ensuring the smooth functionality of two separate systems.
It was announced recently that Comcast and Time Warner had joined an IPv6 test program aimed at switching the whole world's internet service over to the new standard for 24 hours on June 8.