With the clock ticking for the transition to IPv6, several major technology firms are making the switch on Wednesday to the new Internet protocol, including Microsoft, Google, YouTube and Yahoo. The Internet Society, a standards and advocacy organization, urged all businesses to make the move sooner rather than later.
In a guest posting on Forbes magazine's Web site late last week, the Internet Society's Chief Technology Officer Leslie Daigle noted that "there is no question that we are running out" of Internet addresses with IPv4. She pointed out that in February of last year, the last block of 4.3 billion addresses from the current IPv4 global supply was issued to regional Internet Registry organizations, which handle the allocation and registration of addresses in their parts of their world.
Addresses Running Out
Daigle said that there are now no remaining iPv4 addresses for the Asia Pacific region, and addresses are expected to run out for Europe this year, for the U.S. next year, and for Latin America and Africa in 2014. IPv6, on the other hand, is expected to be able to supply what some experts have calculated is 4 billion addresses for each person on Earth.
There's a long way to go in transitioning to IPv6, not only in making the actual switch but also in making businesses aware. Daigle said that only 12 percent of businesses had begun planning to make the transition as of the end of last year, and 6 percent had indicated they were not aware of the situation. A recent survey by Arbor Networks, which monitors global traffic, found that about 1,500 Web sites and Internet Service Providers in 22 countries have now enabled IPv6.
Other major companies making the transition on June 6 on their main Web sites include Facebook, Netflix, Cisco and Bing. Network operators, including Comcast and Time Warner Cable, will be "enabling IPv6 by default" on June 6, which means that the service will not require any specific IPv6 configuration by a user in order for that Internet service provider to provide IPv6 service, in addition to existing IPv4 service.
These participating network operators will also enable at least 1 percent of their subscriber base to begin using IPv6 when they visit Web sites using the new protocol.
Steps for Businesses
The Society is also working with home router vendors to allow their consumer-grade equipment to be enabled by default, so that the home user will not need to perform any configuration to obtain IPv6 service.
To test whether a browser is IPv6 compatible, a user can visit test-ipv6.ch or omgipv6day.com.
On the Cisco corporate blog, the company's Sampa Choudhuri recommended several steps for businesses. First, she said, determine "how and when to transition to the new Internet protocol based on your business needs." As an example, Choudhuri said, some businesses might be working with companies already making the transition, in which case an expedited transition might be in order.
Additionally, Choudhuri recommended assessing your company's network hardware, since some recent equipment may already be IPv6-capable. Operating systems and applications also need to be inventoried; some recent OS's may also already be ready. Finally, she recommends the creation of a migration plan, identifying which networking equipment will be replaced and when.
Posted: 2012-06-05 @ 11:16am PT
The IPv6 advocates have been beating this dead horse for almost 20 years now. Why won't they just let it die? IPv6 failed miserably because it was so completely incompatible with IPv4, and because it breaks all our hard fought measures for securing our networks. After 20 years of flogging, only a small fraction of 1% of internet traffic is actually USING IPv6. If your company converts, you have essentially unplugged from the internet. The IPv4 space isn't exhausted either, it has just been mismanaged. NAT increases the IPv4 space from ~4B address to over ~64 Trillion addresses, so the address space problem has been well solved long ago. IPv6 is a "dead man walking"...