Why It’s Time to Migrate to IPv6

IPv4 is running out.  This will come as no surprise to many of you; you’ve been reading about this impending doom for years, right? True, but even in the face of dwindling IPv4 resources, uptake of IPv6 internationally has been staggeringly slow, service providers have dragged their feet on enabling IPv6, and software vendors have taken far too long to implement decent IPv6 support in their products – especially considering that IPv6 was first described in 1996!

Over the last couple of years however, there has been a marked pickup in native IPv6 use.  Some of this has been driven by events such as World IPv6 Launch where large service providers and content providers permanently enabled IPv6 connectivity as a native form of access for clients.  IPv6 traffic is now doubling every year, and a number of the largest ISP’s worldwide are working hard on their IPv6 rollouts, progressively enabling clients who connect to them.  As some of these very large networks enable IPv6, we will see huge leaps in native IPv6 use.

If current trends continue, ~50% of the worlds Internet traffic should be IPv6 within a reasonably short 5 years.

Australia, at this point in time, is seriously lagging the rest of the world when it comes to uptake rates.  According to Google, 2.25% of all requests to their infrastructure utilise IPv6, however when looking at requests from Australia only, the percentage drops to 0.41%. The infographic below breaks this down in greater detail.

Over the Wire has seen a similar disinterest in IPv6 from our corporate customer base, despite our network having been IPv6 enabled (dual stack) for a number of years.  It seems that most IT Managers are completely ignoring the problem of dwindling IP addresses, and are essentially prioritising other projects over investigating and deploying IPv6.  Unfortunately, with large parts of the developing world unable to receive new IPv4 allocations either now or in the near future, over time there may be parts of the Internet that those with IPv4 only will simply not be able to communicate with.

For those that have not yet investigated IPv6, there is a moderately steep learning curve and any implementation should be well planned like any other large IT project.  Additionally, IT support systems must be upgraded to deal with the new addressing scheme (eg monitoring systems, asset management systems, security appliances, DNS servers, etc).

Now is the right time to consider how you plan on helping your organisation transition to IPv6 as there can be little doubt that those who start early will be better placed to handle serious IPv4 depletion issues.  Enabling IPv6 on any corporate network should not be taken as a trivial task, and will need to be dealt with as a project much like that which faced many in the industry during 1998 and 1999 with the “Y2K” efforts.

Should you be interested in obtaining an IPv6 allocation, Over The Wire will happily provide you with an address block allocation to enable you to start your migration, and we can also enable your connection to us for IPv6.  If you have any questions about how to go about planning your own IPv6 journey, give us a call… but at the very least please do your own research into the world of IPv6 and start thinking about its deployment in your environment today.

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