The Next Version of the Internet Protocol - IPv6 - Page 6

By Pete Loshin | Posted Oct 11, 1999
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Part 6: IPv6 - The Bottom Line



IPv6 - The Bottom Line?

Is IPv6 all that and a bag of chips? Not everyone agrees, but it's hard to find anyone close to the issues who believes that IPv4 is fine the way it is and needs no updating. Even so, foes of IPv6 proclaim deep flaws and plan to wait for "something better than IPv6" before they give up on IPv4. They believe that address assignment and routing problems are under control. According to John Levine, author of IDG's "Internet for Dummies", the original motivation for IPv6 was a shortage of IPv4 addresses and that is no longer enough reason to change. Levine claims that conservation measures have worked so well that "the original impetus for IPv6 has disappeared, and now it's a solution casting about for a problem."

While ISPs seem to dislike IPv6 more than most, they should also be the ones who gain the most from a new IP with no restrictions on addressing. Mankin says "providers are opposed to adding another protocol to their operations, because just operating IPv4 is a strain," but "the same providers do respond to customer requests, so I believe that when customers request IPv6, the providers will be less opposed."

The IETF has already invested almost a decade in the development of the next generation of IP; it's hard to imagine someone else coming up with an alternate solution any time soon. Continued growth puts the Internet at risk unless relief can be found for the address space crunch as well as the routing table explosion. Despite these pressures, it may ultimately be the pent up demand for ever more ubiquitous networks that drives acceptance of IPv6.

With the future of the Internet hanging in the balance, the next ten years should prove interesting, to say the least.

Pete Loshin (pete@loshin.com) began using the Internet as a TCP/IP networking engineer in 1988, and began writing about it in 1994. He runs the website Internet-Standard.com where you can find out more about Internet standards.


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