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Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto
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InteropNet's IPv6 Plans

One of the more interesting aspects of attending Interop is seeing the demonstrations that the InteropNet team is putting on. At the upcoming show, the InteropNet is running several IPv6 capable networks that are supporting both exhibitors and attendees. This marks the first show since Interop returned its Class A address space to ARIN in 2010. If you are at Interop, check out the various InteropNet locations offering IPv6. I caught up with some of the InteropNet team by phone to talk about IPv6

InteropNet is creating three IP networks. The main network will be a dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 network that will be available to exhibitors and show attendees. Scott Leibrand, content delivery network architect with LimeLight Networks, who has worked on several dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 networks, says, "Dual-stack networks just work and are totally transparent to the end user. Anything that is IPv6 goes over the IPv6 network; everything else goes IPv4. Turn it on and no one sees a difference." Since dual-stack is so seamless, InteropNet wanted to set up additional networks that attendees can use to see what happens with network translation and in a pure IPv6 world.

The other two IPv6 demonstration networks will be WLANs in an area designated for hands-on experimentation. One will be an IPv6 network with NAT64 to perform translation between IPv6 hosts and IPv4 networks. This will give you a taste for what it will be like to transition to IPv6. The other network in the same area will be IPv6 without NAT64--so a pure IPv6 network. On this network, you will be able to see some of the problems that hosts will have. For example, Microsoft Windows XP supports IPv6, but can only make queries via IPv4. If you have Windows XP computers in an IPv6-only network, they won't be able to resolve DNS addresses. You're going to have to pry your fingers off your Windows XP systems if you haven't already.

Talking with Liebrand and Van de Velde, it's not surprising when they say getting IPv6 running isn't hard if you understand IPv6 and have a plan to follow. The latter is the critical part--having a plan. I bet in a number of ways, IPv6 networking is going to be easier than you think. Getting up to speed on IPv6 and laying out migration plans is going to be a big focus area for Network Computing in the coming years. You can bet I will be checking out InteropNet's IPv6 features with whatever gear I can get my hands on. Hope you will, too.

In this Network Computing Pro Best Practices: IPv6 Transition [subscription required], we'll discuss strategies and provide an in-depth look at three real-world deployment models.

Mike Fratto is a principal analyst at Current Analysis, covering the Enterprise Networking and Data Center Technology markets. Prior to that, Mike was with UBM Tech for 15 years, and served as editor of Network Computing. He was also lead analyst for InformationWeek Analytics ... View Full Bio
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