Broadband

Are you ready for the next version of IP?

Experts have been talking about IP addresses for several years now, because the current version of IP limits the number of such addresses to a theoretical maximum of 4.7 billion. Though the number of Internet connected devices is much higher than that already, we have not run out of addresses, mostly due to the magic of Network Address Translation, or NAT. However, the experts are now telling us that China will probably run out of IP addresses by 2010, which means that IP version 6 (IPv6) will need to be rolled out in the very near future.

Experts have been talking about IP addresses for several years now, because the current version of IP limits the number of such addresses to a theoretical maximum of 4.7 billion. Though the number of Internet connected devices is much higher than that already, we have not run out of addresses, mostly due to the magic of Network Address Translation, or NAT. However, the experts are now telling us that China will probably run out of IP addresses by 2010, which means that IP version 6 (IPv6) will need to be rolled out in the very near future.

Sound the alarm, IPv6 execs say (Infoworld)

Some companies are already offering various IPv6 services, and although the demand isn't high yet, those services will be needed over the next few years. The federal government has announced that the backbone of its network will support IPv6 by a June 30th self imposed deadline, but officials admit that making the change over the entire network will be extremely difficult. IPv6 probably won't increase maintenance fees, but initial rollouts could be expensive as administrators get trained, devices get moved over, and equipment gets upgraded.

The Planet to offer IPv6 hosting services (Infoworld)

U.S. Carriers Quietly Developing IPv6 Services (PC World)

Feds: We will meet June IPv6 deadline (Infoworld)

People have been talking about IPv6 for years, I even delivered training in 1999, during which I told my students that I expected the Internet to be IPv6 only by 2005. Unfortunately, now it is a more critical issue as addresses are running out, which has the potential to create a mass upgrade frenzy like the one we saw in 1999, as people prepared for the now infamous "Y2K bug." Do you have any plans to test or deploy IPv6?

18 comments
BALTHOR
BALTHOR

These are Government even United Nations standards.Just another waste of time item on the worry list.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

That is an interesting turn of the phrase, Balthor. But really, don't you think that a worry list itself is a waste of time? Then again, given the assumption that time is an infinite thing that only man measures, can time be wasted?

Jaqui
Jaqui

since I'm 100% linux and it supports ipv6 completely already, roll it out, I don't care. DHCP? ipv6 ready DNS? ipv6 ready NIS/NFS? ipv6 ready it's only those stuck with windows who have a problem, and that only because Microsoft has fought ipv6 all the way.

s31064
s31064

It depends on your version of linux, and even those that support IPv6 don't do a very good job yet. Vista and Server 2008 do a much better job than linux at this point. Of course, being a penguin head, you probably don't believe that. I often wondered why the linux world chose the penguin over the ostrich...

derekmorr
derekmorr

Reality isn't so simple. Linux has had some form of IPv6 support for a while (so has Windows), but there is still a lot to do. The DHCPv6 clients for Linux are somewhat buggy (especially the Fedora DHCPv6 one). Even then, the DHCPv6 clients aren't enabled by default (or even installed by default on some OSes). Don't believe me? Install RedHat and select DHCPv6 during the install. It won't be activated upon reboot (and the firewall will block DHCPv6 packets). Linux doesn't support NFS over IPv6. Samba doesn't yet have IPv6 in a released version (it's there in cvs). It is not at all accurate to say that Microsoft has "fought" IPv6. On the contrary, they've supported IPv6 for sometime. XP and 2003 have fairly basic IPv6 support. Vista and 2008 have excellent IPv6 support. None of this is to say that organizations shouldn't start deploying IPv6. There is a lot that does work (Apache, Sendmail, Postfix, FireFox, Thunderbird, etc). But there is still work left to do.

bdskp
bdskp

I was under the impression that Microsoft supports implementations of IPv6 in Windows XP(SP1), Vista, Server 2003/2008, as well as DHCP and DNS. Are you saying they really don't or am I missing something? I admit I'm fairly uninformed on IPv6 so...

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

The address is changing yes. Depending on what items you run on your network you will find that some CAN handle V6 and some can't. The problem will be - finding this out and upgrading or adding a translation system (aka IPV6 NAT to IPV4 and back) to allow these systems to work until you are ready to replace. Most moden OS'es can cope with IPV6 so the actual roll to these should not be that hard. They can even coexist with IPV4. Think running IPX and IP at the same time- no big deal. The real pain will be the server infrastructure and services such as DNS & DHCP (to name a few).

RFink
RFink

First they kill my analog cell phone. Then they kill my low def TV and now they're taking my IP 4. I don't think I can take much more of this. :_|

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

With its lack of any meaningful limit on addresses, IPv6 will expand the address space so that every device we own could have its own IP address and we still wouldn't scratch the surface. However, I haven't seen too many organizations that even have IPv6 on their radar. Do you have any plans for testing or deployment of IPv6?

itjmn
itjmn

As the IPv4 addresses are coming to close does changeover to IPv6 address needs any training infuture, how can we face the situation. Thanks in advance, Nagesh

gregopedia
gregopedia

I would highly reccomend viewing Randy Bush's IpV6 synopsis located at the link below - it is great intro into the problems of IPv6 transition. http://www.nanog.org/mtg-0710/bush.html I personally think it is time for the IETF to go back to the drawing board. IpV6 needs a variable header size to enable IPv4 and IPv6 to exist together on the wire to allow successful transition. IPv6 is also lacking all the requiste security features that a new standard should bring. I am not sure if IpV6 will ever be implemented as "the internet". If it is (and not say Ipv10 or similar) it will be another decade before there is ANY site that you want to reach that can only be reached via IPv6 address. Randy's presentation also raises some serious issues, like the fact that we have yet to see that Ipv6 works on a large scale implementation. If the performance degredtion, and lack of improvements that his speech outlines are correct, I can see NO compelling reason for companies to ever adopt this protocol. It is also important to note that the IETF is VERY divided on this subject into two camps, that have very differing viewpoints. Until the IETF and ICANN are of one mindset, the wheels will continue to spin. The IETF/ICANN elders have a very strong religious belief of not fracturing the internet. I am not sure if this is a sustainable effort in the long run, and currently as it stands I see a already fractured Net - IPv4 and IPv6 - not only different but also not communicating with each other (incompatible). I think a more likely near term outcome is larger NAT/DHCP pools from the Fiber and Cable broadband ISP's. They will start charging high rates for REAL public IP's, and most people who have no real need for one will default to a NAT'ed IP address behind their broadband providers NAT box, and use a proxy server for web surfing. Cable companies get a new revenue stream - public is at least kept happy enough to not revolt, and NO MAJOR changes are done to the internet - I'm not saying this the right way, but it to me sounds like a more likely outcome.

derekmorr
derekmorr

Variable size headers won't fix the problem. It would still take years to release updates for the OSes and routers to handle a new version of IP, and there isn't time to do that before the IPv4 pool runs out. What security features did you want IPv6 to provide?

vadivel.murughan
vadivel.murughan

Though all started that we should go for IPv6 for shortages of ip's in ipv4 is it that i am in the dark or has any spade work started for version6.

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

Cisco routers are able to handle IPv6, at least the ones produced over the past couple of years. However, the big problem is going to be installing a new protocol on every desktop out there. The infrastructure is mostly ready, but it is going to take a massive push to make it happen down to the desktop.

james
james

You don't think the coporate type are going to jump right on board???? I alway thought they just LOVED change!!!! 8) Seriously thanks for the insight..., time to start boning up a bit on IPv6! 8o

gregopedia
gregopedia

(Also an ameteur at IPv6)My understanding is that EVERYTHING will need to run BOTH until we are ready as a world to shut Off Ipv4 (Rotuers, PC's, DNS, DHCP, Servers etc). There is not a reasonable transition path that I can see, and some serious problems with how IPv6 is designed. Because of this I only see the world adopting IPv6 at the literal Last minute as corporations start shutting off their Ipv4 (which I don't see them doing that either).

james
james

Can't you run IPv4 internally and connect externally via IPv6? Yeah guess it's obvious that I haven't studied up on IPv6 much... OOPS!!! :( Feeling your Pain RFink!!! :)