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On IPv6 Day, Survey Shows Lack Of Preparedness For IP Address Switch

A survey of IT professionals shows a lack of education and preparedness for the transition from the IPv4 system of IP addresses to the new IPv6 standard. The survey, by Infoblox, shows that 80% of about 2,400 respondents feel they are not educated enough on the subject to perform an IPv6 migration, half don’t know which of their network elements support IPv6 today, and 70% are concerned about whether they can successfully implement an IPv6 deployment.

To draw attention to the IPv6 transition, a non-profit group called the Internet Society has declared today, June 8, World IPv6 Day, during which top Internet companies plan to deliver their content over IPv6 networks in a “test flight” of the new IP protocol. Major participants will include Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Akamai and Limelight Networks. Also participating are You Tube, Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and Microsoft Bing.

The transition to IPv6 is necessary because the number of IPv4 addresses is running out. To increase Internet Protocol address space, IPv6 addresses will be 128-bit addresses, versus IPv4’s 32-bit, creating a virtually infinite number of IP addresses.

While the Infoblox survey shows a lack of preparation for IPv6, it’s actually showing an improvement because “at least people now realize that they have a problem,” says Cricket Liu, VP of network architecture at Infoblox, a provider of integrated IP address management and network change and configuration management products.

Also, the transition to IPv6 is going to happen over a number of years, so there’s time to prepare to take such steps as obtaining IPv6 connectivity from a carrier, configure IPv6-enabled web servers, mail servers, domain name servers and reconfigure existing servers, says Liu.

What companies have to do to transition from IPv4 to IPv6 depends on the Web application at issue, he says. A typical transmission control protocol (TCP)-based client-server application should be relatively easy to transition, but a Skype-based application would be more difficult because it uses more network bandwidth.

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