How You Can Benefit From IPv6

As the number of internet-connected devices continues to grow globally, the next generation of Internet Protocol (IPv6) offers a greater quantity of IP addresses while providing reliable internet connectivity.

Articles published March 28, 2017 by Jack Kapustka

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Is your organization running out of IP addresses? It could be. As the volume of internet-connected devices continues to increase, the internet addressing scheme, known as Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), is at its capacity. The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the governing board for IP number allocation, is not assigning new IP space in almost any circumstance. ARIN depleted the free pool of IPv4 addresses on September 24, 2015. Since then, anyone who requests IPv4 space gets put into a queue and there are limitations and policies in place regarding who can get those addresses. 

This depletion of IPv4 addresses is a worldwide issue that affects every organization that relies on the internet. The next generation of IP addresses, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), was created as an alternative means to keep pace with growing demand and to continue to provide reliable internet connectivity. IPv6 addresses are longer and more complex, providing a much larger pool of address schemes — approximately 340 undecillion according to the Federal Communications Commission

What does all of this mean for you and your organization? You will eventually need new IP addresses for your internet-connected devices and you’re most likely going to have to transition to IPv6 sooner rather than later.  A study by IHS and Forbes predicts that by 2025 there will be 75.44 billion internet connected devices worldwide. 

To understand what kinds of equipment, devices, and applications are affected by IPv6, take a look at some examples from the FCC:

  • Computer operating systems, such as Mac OS X, Windows, and Android
  • Computer networking equipment, such as cable and DSL modems, wireless access points (“WiFi routers”), routers, and home gateways
  • Networked home electronics, such as Blu-ray players, AV receivers, and television sets capable of connecting to the Internet
  • Home security systems that use IP networks
  • Internet service providers (ISPs)
  • Web browsing software, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox
  • Computer security software, such as firewalls and anti-virus programs
  • Voice-over-IP and video conferencing programs

The transition to IPv6 addresses has started gaining momentum. Worldwide, about 30 percent of Google users are currently using IPv6. In the U.S. that number is closer to 40 percent. To avoid complications, organizations who have not yet migrated to the next generation of Internet addresses should plan to review their internet addressing schemes and consider IPv6.

The Differences Between IPv4 and IPv6

IPv6 is the future and, if it’s not already, will at some point become an integral part of your organization’s IT department. It’s essential to consider the benefits of IPv6 vs. IPv4, and how your organization can start planning to make the switch now

IPv4 vs. IPv6

Three Steps to be IPv6 Ready

If your organization is ready to make the transition to IPv6, there are three simple steps to take. 

1. Conduct an audit of your hardware and software.

IPv6 is not supported on all hardware platforms. Some equipment has IPv6 support in software (good) and some has support in hardware (best). To determine whether your organization can switch to IPv6, you will need to audit your IP-enabled equipment, from core routers to Customer Premises Equipment (CPE). If existing equipment does not support IPv6, you will be able to better prepare for the transition and plan for upgrading network equipment before it’s too late.

2. Utilize transitional technologies.

Transitional technologies, such as the tunnel method and the native method can help bridge the gap between IPv4 and IPv6. In the tunnel method, end users’ PC/router tunnels to a relay server to get reachability to the IPv6 network. In the native method, IPv4 and IPv6 are run on the same routing infrastructure, also known as dual stack. This method also adds IPv6 to existing IPv4 applications and servers, and IPv6 routing is completely independent of IPv4. A dual stack network is a great approach for organizations undergoing the transition from one generation of IP addresses to the next.

Another possibility is to request address space from ARIN or Aureon.

3. Put a plan together.

Contact your vendors and consultants, and put a plan in place to make the necessary upgrades and changes to your network. It’s best to act as soon as possible, so that your organization is prepared for the transition to IPv6.

Making the Transition to IPv6

IPv6 lets countless more devices connect to the internet and will be used to assign new IP addresses for the foreseeable future. Operating exclusively on an IPv6 network will ultimately help simplify your network operations. While making the switch from IPv4 to IPv6 can present a challenge, if you’ve taken the above steps and have a plan in place, it will make the transition easier.

Aureon has been supporting IPv6 for more than 10 years, and can support your organization’s transition to IPv6.

Does your organization need to be IPv6 ready? Contact us today.