Who cares about IPv6?

IPv6 is the replacement internet addressing system that was developed some time ago when it was hypothesised that the internet was growing so fast that it would run out of addresses. It was designed to be SO much bigger that the problem of address depletion is unlikely to occur again.

It has been more than 20 years since people started ringing alarm bells about the danger that the internet might run out of addresses. Since then the number of devices on the ‘Net has increased exponentially. Even now more devices are being connected, and despite the chicken little calls, the internet just keeps growing. Recently the newpapers were featuring stories about the end of internet addresses again as the central registry issued the last address blocks last February..

So, do you really need to worry, will ever really be a problem?

Well, this time, I think it may be time to listen. Why now you ask. Well a few things are different now, but a few things are still the same.

What has not changed much is that many carriers, who get no additional revenue, are saying that their customers are not asking for the IPv6 service, and are therefore not promoting their capability. The customers are not hearing much from the carriers and are concluding that the carrriers do not have a service. This is rather like a Mexican stand-off. So what has changed?

There are two things that have changed significantly and make break the stalemate. Broadly speaking the two things are Governments and population. Governments around the world are driving their departments and instrumentalities to be able to deliver services to users who are IPv6 connected. They are concerned that they may be charged with discrimination if any of their consumers cannot access one of the principal channels over which government delivers services. Mandates have been put in place in the US and Australia, and the European Union is also “strongly encouraging” government agencies and major corporations to adopt the new standard. So this will generate a demand that carriers must satisfy and therefore drive capability to the market.

The second adoption driver is population. There are more than 4.5 billion mobile phones worldwide and smartphones are quickly replacing these. That is driving the rapid increase in use of IP addresses. Along with smartphones, there are more people than ever connecting to the Internet. China has already established a very extensive IPv6 network infrastructure. And since China was only issued with 60 million addresses in the old system, their demand for connectivity is going to drive a very large IPv6 population online. India also has a huge population and large numbers of internet users.

The use of smartphones and the huge increase in user population is very likely to drive the development of new applications. As larger proportions of these user populations are likely to be IPv6 users, any new application created may be reliant specifically on features of IPv6 for operation. That would leave users or businesses who only have access to the old system at risk of missing out on being able to use the new application.

There is much uncertainty about when IPv6 may be needed. But, there is one thing on which there is unanimous agreement, it is coming. And you need to understand that we are a tipping point. The last addresses are being used, there are more users coming online, there are existing applications requiring mobility, there are likely new applications coming. If you have not worked out how you will deal with this you may be caught unprepared.

So, should you panic now? No. Should you have a plan? Absolutely!

Understand what your exposure is, and have a plan with some critical steps that you could implement quickly.

If you need more help on what and when you need to do I can help. You can get me at anthony.callanan@i3technologies.com.au

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.