In the simplest of terms, IPv6 is intended to resolve the issue of the world running out of IP address in 2011. IPv4 is based upon a 32-bit address scheme whereas IPv6 uses 128 bits. The difference is dramatic. With IPv4, the Internet has a total IP address capacity of 4 billion unique addresses. In 1980 when IPv4 was released this seemed like a big number, as the engineering groups involved did not foresee the eventual growth that defines today's Internet. IPv6 represents 3.4x1038 or 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses. I think that might last the planet earth for a while. Other elements of IPv6 include improved security, simpler processing, mobility features and multicast. The purpose of this blog is not to teach you everything you need to know but to offer information you may also pursue on your own. We have now arrived at that point. I want to continue the discussion by giving you insight into what carriers such as Broadvox are doing with regard to IPv6.
Broadvox, other ITSPs and ISPs need to look and moving to IPv6 with three succinct efforts in mind. First, we must understand the impact upon our existing infrastructure. We must select vendors that have effective transition plans for upgrading our network elements and transport facilities. Second, we have to plan for interconnecting with other carriers. Carriers that may be partners, part of a federation or peering group, and simply those with whom we will need to interconnect. Interestingly, the US government is beginning to require IPv6 compliance/planning as part of its IP related procurement efforts. Finally, how customer access is provided during the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 must be determined such that there is minimal impact on customers. There are four agreed to strategies in deploying IPv6, IPv6 over IPv4 tunnels, IPv6 over MPLS backbones, IPv6 over dedicated data links and finally, IPv6 using dual-stack backbones. Which of these, and in which order, we have not yet determined. However, it is something our CTO and R&D are investigating. There is of course time before we need to be ready for full deployment. While we will run out of addresses sometime in 2011, the Internet is not expected to fully IPv6 until after 2020.
In researching IPv6, I did come across this quote by George Carlin "America's most profitable business is still the manufacture, packaging, distribution and marketing of bullshit"..."You Are All Diseased (1999)".
That's why we will need a trillion, trillion, trillion addresses...
See you on Friday with more R&D subjects.