IPv6 and the coming exhaustion of IPv4
So have you heard that the end of the internet is nigh? Certainly, the number of available IPv4 addresses is dwindling quickly. Each time I look at the IPv4 Exhaustion Counter it has shortened the amount of time we have left. Today when I am writing this, the estimated date of IPv4 address exhaustion is June 2, 2011. Have you even heard of IPv6? You probably have. And if you have, somebody has probably told you that it is very important and will change your life/business/success/dating chances….take your pick.
Well, it has changed my life since I have spent this past year working on getting my head around IPv6 and what it means for me personally, for PEI and for you.
It means big changes both architecturally and conceptually. Some of the strategies and standby solutions will be obsoleted. Some equipment is going to be too old to function as IPv6 is rolled out. Some applications are going to refuse to go IPv6 and must be accommodated by either dual stacking the network or maintaining a legacy network. There are some current products that use IPv6 to do some things (like clientless remote access with end-to-end IPSec encryption) that are pretty cool. And may provide an easy way to get your feet wet with the new technology.
Be prepared that this transition will most likely be relatively stately. Most environments will go dual-stack and have IPv4 and v6 running simultaneously on their networks. In some cases you will need or want to go native IPv6 or be required to have IPv4. There really isn’t a cookie cutter solution to the transition.
Currently here in Denver it is very difficult (in my experience) to get a native IPv6 handoff from a provider. If you are a Comcast customer and signed up for the beta, let me know what your experience is with their technology.
You can however get a tunnel broker (see below) and setup a tunneled connection to the IPv6 backbone to test out IPv6. When you do, be prepared for some big changes. To help you get started thinking about IPv6 I have a list of some resources for you to try:
https://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2460.html – The actual RFC for IPv6
https://ipv6.internet2.edu/ – The IPv6 working group
-Josh Sidwell, PEI