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Urgency makes business sense in transition to IPv6

By Donna Donnowitz
September 12, 2011
Transitioning to IPv6 is seen as a difficult business proposition for many companies. This perception is driven by the relative lack of revenue-related benefits associated with the technology. However, a recent Computerworld report said the best way to identify the validity of a move to IPv6 is to compare benefits with cost and act accordingly.

According to the news source, the benefits versus cost relationship favors a sense of urgency surrounding IPv6 adoption. The report explained there are only a couple of major business-related advantages of IPv6, and both of them fall in the mobile sector.

The first major advantage of deploying IPv6 to support mobile systems is to be among the innovators in providing content and services to IPv6-based users. This can give a business a competitive edge when working with early adopters and also create revenue opportunities. However, the report said such benefits are relatively difficult to quantify. As a result, they are not motivating companies to transition to the new protocol.

The second major benefit of IPv6 migration is easier to argue. According to the report businesses that provide IPv6-enabled services to content providers can gain a major edge in terms of performance and reliability.

While both of these benefits are nice, the report said neither are powerful enough to make many businesses overly excited about the address standard. However, the advantages of deploying the new protocol can still be great enough to justify the cost.

Because IPv6 has been around for more than a decade, the news source said most routers, switches and other hardware already support IPv6 and dual-stack configurations. As a result, the capital costs associated with investing in the new protocol are relatively small right now. This low cost is furthered by how inexpensive it is to obtain new IPv6 addresses.

However, the report said the cost of deploying IPv6 will likely rise when more businesses begin transitioning to the address standard. Talks of vanity IPv6 addresses and other gimmicks used to raise the costs of IPv6 prefixes could complicate obtaining new addresses. Furthermore, hardware costs may rise when more businesses are searching for opportunities to invest in the technology. This means the cost of IPv6 adoption will rise beyond the benefits in the future, creating a critical need for urgency.

Typically, IPv6 adoption is considered a need because the global repository of IPv4 addresses is running out. This is creating an environment where many organizations are beginning to prioritize the new protocol.


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