|24 Jul 2009||#1|
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IPv6: Ready or not?
Since 1984 IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) addresses which consist of four groupings of numbers (e.g. 126.96.36.199) have been used to access the Internet. Twenty five years on and unsurprisingly the 4.3 billion addresses originally available are now running out with only an estimated 700,000 left. Previous estimates stated IPv4 addresses would be depleted by 2011 or 2012 but a more recent announcement from ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) states this could be as soon as 2010.
Before we run out of IPv4 addresses completely (possibly as soon as next year), we really need to start implementing IPv6 ones. It’s just a matter of getting on and doing it!
It all sounds relatively straightforward, doesn’t it? Well you’d think so. The media and several leading Internet figures have expressed concerns that ISPs’ take up of IPv6 has been too slow and that unless adoption is accelerated we will have consumed all of the available IPv4 addresses before IPv6 is fully supported. In the worst case this would make it impossible for ISPs to accommodate any more subscribers. In reality IPv6 is already available and some ISPs are already utilising it, including Entanet. Whilst several of our competitors may not be implementing IPv6 just yet I find it hard to believe that any would be so negligent that they actually reach this crisis point without taking action. Nevertheless it is possible and if it does happen it will be you and your customers that will be affected.
The OECD suggests ISPs should consider adoption of IPv6 as a social and commercial opportunity, not a financial burden. I tend to agree. By making IPv6 available, the ISP holds a competitive edge as there are few early adopters within the market. Plus, IPv6 offers additional benefits such as increased security through the use of IPSec. By adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach (which seems even more pointless when the only option to wait for is the inevitable) ISPs are not only missing a competitive opportunity. They are compromising network performance and perhaps even becoming technically negligent. As an early adopter of IPv6, Entanet calls on other ISPs to explain why they are holding off. Just what is it that they are waiting for? What benefits can be obtained (apart from delaying inevitable investment) by adopting a ‘wait until we reach the crisis point’ strategy?
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