06/06 – is the official IPv6 day when some of the big companies and ISPs will make their move to IPv6. Question never was whether to make a switch to IPv6 but when and the time has arrived. Among the companies showing their commitment to IPv6 day are – Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Cisco. And among the service providers moving to IPv6 are Free Telecom, AT&T, Time Warner and Comcast. This does not mean that IPv4 will be turned off – this only means that now IPv6 along with IPv4 will be used for production deployments.

This was waiting to happen after decades of tussle between IPv4 trying to stretch its life and IPv6 readying itself for the big stage. Running out of IPv4 address space is the most obvious reason why we need to move to IPv6, which practically offer unlimited addresses for all our needs. Necessity gave birth to IPv6 – but decades of experience with IPv4 ensured that the IPv6 was designed to provide host of other benefits. Some of the advantages of moving to IPv6 are:

  1. Simplified Routing – better organized and smaller routing tables make routing faster and better
  2. Efficient Packet Processing – simplified IPv6 header makes packet processing efficient
  3. Security – inbuilt support for IPSec
  4. New Applications – Unique IP addresses for each endpoint provides opportunity for many innovative applications
  5. Easier Network Management – features like address auto-configuration makes life easy for network administrators

Despite all the benefits that come with IPv6 not all organizations have incentive to make this move. Some of the key drivers forcing organizations to make a move to IPv6 are:

  1. To provide connectivity to IPv6 only customers
  2. To provide access to employees and partners over IPv6
  3. Not to be left behind when the world moves ahead
  4. Leverage the technology to simplify and secure the networks

Now the big question is how to make this move? Multiple technologies have emerged to meet differing needs of different networks as they plan their transition to IPv6. Service Providers, Content Providers and Enterprises have different challenges in embracing IPv6. Comcast has chosen to go dual stack way to provide IPv6 connectivity to customers but Free Telecom selected 6rd. Also, continuing to support IPv4 customers mean that IPv4 and IPv6 will have to coexist for a foreseeable future.

So what are the various transition technologies? What are the pros and cons of each? And yet there are technologies still trying to stretch the life of IPv4. In this IPv6 blog series we will explore different technologies and their use cases.

Some “6” numbers: 6th day of the 6th month has been selected as IPv6 day. Not enough of 6 – check this out: 06+06+12 = 24; 2+4=6.