IPv6: Nobody Said You Had to Like It - Page 2

 By Sean Michael Kerner
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Problems with migration

While the IETF has known about the exhaustion of IPv4 address space, the move to IPv6 remains slow. Durand noted that many consumers are running home modems and routers that aren't IPv6 capable. Additionally, many IP-enabled consumer devices, ranging from cameras to TVs, are currently IPv4-only.

Also, in networks across the world, there are tens of millions of Web servers and content services online that today only support IPv4. Durand expects that those servers will eventually migrate, but it will take time.

Yet there's also a growing body of evidence that suggests that businesses can benefit from the IPv6.

Take Google, for instance. In May 2008, Google began switching on its IPv6 services. Google Engineer Lorenzo Colitti noted that the effort started off in 2007 as a "20 percent project" -- so named for the fact that Google lets its employees spend 20 percent of their time on projects of their own choosing.

Colitti noted that just last week, Google enabled Google Maps on IPv6 -- and immediately saw a three-fold increase in the amount of IPv6 traffic it normally receives.

"A lot of people don't see a business case for IPv6, but we do see one," Colitti said. "There are a lot of new devices out there that have IP connectivity, and there is not enough space to number them with IPv4 addresses."

The current method used to expand IPv4 address space is NAT network address translation, which takes one public address and then serves up private addresses behind a firewall.

Colitti argued that doing NAT on a large scale is more difficult to do than IPv6. One issue is: legal intercept. That is, with NAT there is one public IP address that is shared, which makes it harder for law enforcement to identify potential offenders.

He added that NAT is harder to maintain and support. In contrast, deploying IPv6 is simpler, as it provides public addresses to all without the need for NAT layering.

Economic incentive?

While there may be engineering benefits to IPv6, not everyone is convinced that there are financial incentives for a move.

While Comcast's Durand noted that he is seeing IPv6 technology pop up as part of regular cycles of technology deployment and refreshes, he argued that most people will only initially benefit from IPv6 thanks to the increased address space.

Meanwhile, others added that the lack of a concerted effort around IPv6 isn't necessarily at odds with how the Internet itself developed -- and how it will continue in the future.

"There is no master plan for deployment of technology in the Internet, and that's a feature," ISOC's Daigle said. "The Internet is a continuously evolving environment and if you're in this business you need to continuously evolve."

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

This article was originally published on Mar 27, 2009
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