IPv6 Forecasts for 2012

It’s out with IPv4 and in with IPv6. At least that is what all the experts are saying.

The depletion of IPv4 was proclaimed  a year ago, and now nearly on the anniversary of this announcement, we think this is the perfect time to revisit this issue and see if IPv4 predictions have changed.

As most of our readers know, the never ending growth of the Internet has created a demand for more addresses that IPv4 cannot supply; however, IPv6 can. As a result, experts are expecting that business professionals will be among the first to prepare for the switch.

Unfortunately, experts also predict a few obstacles along the way.

“The drop-dead deadline for external websites to support IPv6 is January 1, 2012. When we get to the end of 2011, we're going to have a lot of people connecting over IPv6 and that doesn't bode well for the content providers who don't support IPv6. Unless you're willing to have the path between you and one of your customers go through a third-party gateway that you don't know and that you don't have control over, you want to add IPv6 to your website. Then when customers try to access your site, you have a straight path with IPv6 and with IPv4.”—John Curran, President and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers.

“To send and receive data on the Internet, every connected device needs an IP address – and 2011 was the year we finally started running out of IPv4's unique, 32-bit sequences. In 2012, smart businesses will want to get an IPv6 address in addition to an IPv4 address so that when the transition to IPv6 does come, they'll be prepared. It will be important for companies to keep their IPv4 addresses for some time, as households might not be equipped for IPv6. When the time comes for websites to relinquish their old IPv4 addresses, many average consumer devices will be ready.”—Megan Guess, writer at PCWorld.

“The vast majority of Americans simply cannot access IPv6 yet. The government transitioning to IPv6 would ultimately be futile if the infrastructure isn’t in place for us to access the sites.  I live in Walnut Creek, a community less than 30 miles from San Francisco — arguably, the epicenter of technology and innovation in the world. And yet, my community isn’t yet equipped to handle IPv6 or high-speed Internet protocols. If we — just a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley — can’t transition easily to technological innovations, how can we expect anything more from the rest of the country? The truth is, the transition to IPv6 will be a slow rollout that will happen over the next 10 years. There’s still too much work that needs to be done from providers in terms of upgrading their wiring, pipes and firmware.” – Rainer Enders, CTO Americas, NCP engineering

“The network switchover from the current IPv4 addresses to the newer 128-bit IPv6 addresses has security implications. The IPv6 namespace seems almost infinite in the possible number of addresses, with 340 undecillion possible addresses. There’s a lot of room for spammers to stretch out in. The dual stack being rolled out by various telecommunications carriers, where customers have both a IPv4 and IPv6 address, also pose security challenges, as network administrators have to remember to create firewall rules and security policies protecting both networks; Otherwise, attackers can just stroll right through the hole on the IPv6 side.” – Qing Li, Chief Scientist at Blue Coat Systems.

About the author: Sylvia Rosen is an online writer for BuyerZone. She writes on a variety of telecom topics, including phone systems trends of 2012.