IPv6 Migration – What, Why and How

The first step for a Service Provider is to understand and define the scope of IPv6 deployment: It can range from assigning IPv6 addresses to customers, upgrading the backbone to IPv6 or supporting the content providers migrating to IPv6.  Choice of technology will purely depend on the network segment(s) being migrated to IPv6 and emerging connectivity requirements. Upgrading any segment would mean coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6 – and for any successful deployment end-to-end connectivity between old and new must exist. Key component of course is the basic routing infrastructure but equally essential are the supporting components like DNS, DHCP and SNMP. An effective solution not only helps in migration of the basic routing infrastructure but also integrates seamlessly with supporting elements. Primarily IPv6 migration technologies have been classified in three different categories:

The ability to connect to a destination depends on the technology deployed in different segments of the infrastructure and the ability to transport and translate protocols. The following diagram summarizes the connectivity options available across different components of the network:

As the diagram above clearly illustrates that there is a technology available for every possible migration path and Service Providers can start from where it is easiest to make a move. No matter what path Service Providers opt for, it is important to take a well-planned approach ensuring the smooth upgrade while keeping costs down.

Let’s take a look at each of these migration technologies in coming weeks.