IPv6 Migration & Its Contingencies, Complexities & Implications: Part 5

In part 5 of 7 on IPv6, I will talk about the general model around the protocol and the technology behind it. In Parts 6 and 7, I will finally focus on some of the security issues surrounding IPv6 and BYOD and mobility issues that need to be solved both for delivering services from quote to cash and service maintenance. If these issues are not solved in the industry, there will be a major delay in delivering IPv6 within service providers worldwide and ultimately into corporate enterprise.

It is part of the transformation platform one needs to have and its value against its costs and revenue; it will come up not on the technology itself, but rather how one can go from one galaxy to another one with faster speed. Transforming from IPv4 to IPv6 is like changing all four engines of a 747, except doing so mid-flight and without impacting any performance issues around the conversion.

In my opinion, this is the biggest and strongest limitation in order to transform into future protocol for next 100 years or even beyond that.

IPv6 General Model:  Populations of internet and mobile web users are faced with a lack of sufficient internet addresses.

• The shortage of IPv4 addresses in Asia is driving the introduction of IPv6 technology there. Japan, South Korea and China have federal mandates and incentives for the private sector to adopt IPv6 on an accelerated schedule. The European Union has mandated that, in the near future, network devices must support IPv6.

• The cost and complexity of upgrading from IPv4 to IPv6 is significant. More development is required to smooth the transition and coexistence between legacy IPv4 networks and IPv6 networks to provide businesses and suppliers a smooth transition path. These issues, combined with workarounds extending the life of IPv4, have delayed IPv6 implementation, especially in the US.

• Governmental adoption can play a role in speeding adoption of IPv6. The greatest impetus for the movement by governmental agencies to IPv6 in the US comes from the Department of Defense. A further announcement of a commitment strategy to support migration to IPv6 has been presented by the Department of Commerce.

• The world’s largest IPv6 network was set up in March 2004 in the Moonv6 Project. Carriers Sprint and NTT were among the ISPs supporting this network whose goal is to provide a platform for testing, training and software development for IPv6.

• IPv6 is beginning to receive significant attention as a key policy issue within the Internet community. Accordingly, one needs to develop public policy positions with a public policy statement that encompasses a defined a migration strategy. This statement should establish global operators’ technological commitment and should assure customers and public policy makers of operators’ leadership in this area of advancing IP networking.

The Technology

For more than 20 years the internet has been based on IPv4. IPv4 was designed to accommodate approximately four billion potential internet addresses using 32-bits each, which seemed more than adequate back in the 1980s.  As the internet grew, blocks of internet addresses were assigned to various organizations and countries. However, one quarter of all potential addresses were taken by 1995, and half were consumed just five years later in 2000.

Not all bit strings of length 32 are valid internet addresses. IPv4 has three classes of addresses, Class A, Class B and Class C, and also supports services such as multicasting. Because of the way these addresses are specified, only around 3 billion IPv4 addresses are available for use by Internet endpoints. Moreover, because the way IPv4 addresses are assigned to endpoints, in practice, only about 250 million IPv4 addresses can be used respectively.

Dr. Eslambolchi