Businesses need to begin moving now to the IPv6 standard for Internet addresses from the IPv4 standard because IPv4 addresses are running out quickly, states The Internet Society (ISOC). It says while businesses that operate websites are more aware of the coming IPv6 standard than they were a year or so ago, they need to start planning for the transition in 2012. To accelerate the transition, the group is introducing a Web portal, called Deploy 360, to better inform companies of what they have to do to prepare.
"We're engaging the audience that we know needs the deployment information to help them move forward with their deployments, says Richard Jimmerson, a member of ISOC and director of Deploy360. "And we're working with the group of individuals who have already deployed that we consider the first adopters of the new standards in technologies."
The portal has content with advice on how to deploy IPv6, best practices from the experience of early adopters, promotion of IPv6 through social media and hosting workshops and other events to provide training, Jimmerson said.
The IPv6 standard was created by the international Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a standards-setting body for Internet technical standards, Because of the explosion of the Internet since the 1990s and the creation of millions of Web sites globally, the supply of IPv4 addresses is running out. The IPv6 protocol offers considerably more combinations of IP addresses.
"We all know that IPv4 was never intended for the global commercial Internet," Jimmerson said.
Vendors of domain name systems services and appliances are also providing outreach to inform customers about IPv6, but even they admit a vendor-neutral organization such as ISOC may have more credibility.
"There are certainly some people out there who view any efforts by any vendor with a degree of suspicion," said Tom Coffeen, IPv6 evangelist for Infoblox, a provider of network infrastructure automation software and hardware. "ISOC has the advantage that they're neutral, and I think that they're a fairly trusted organization."
Nonetheless, Infoblox has its own public education campaign about IPv6, the Center of Excellence, in which Coffeen and other Infoblox representatives hold webinars, host workshops and make other appearances to inform customers of the need to prepare for IPv6. One webinar drew about 1,000 visitors, and a public event in Tokyo drew 200.
The sense of urgency to adopt IPv6 is that the supply of IPv4 addresses in the Asia-Pacific regions is essentially exhausted, says Cricket Liu, VP of infrastructure at Infoblox. The supply of IPv4 addresses in Europe is expected to run out by summer. North America has a little bit more time--its supply is expected to run out by the summer of 2013.
Large Internet companies such as Google are already deploying IPv6, as are Internet service providers and telecommunications carriers. While many more companies are going to have to purchase new equipment to deliver new Web content on IPv6, some of the equipment currently on the market supports both protocols, says Coffeen. And companies do not need to rip and replace their IPv4 networks with IPv6. Instead, companies will operate a "dual stack" system where IPv4 and IPv6 networks will run in parallel.
ISOC's Jimmerson says that awareness about the need to start planning for IPv6 was raised considerably on June 8, 2011, which ISOC declared IPv6 Day.
"Awareness is increasing rapidly," Jimmerson says. "I think that it's much better this year than it has been in previous years."
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