The coming of IPv6 seemed to be the hottest topic in IP transit in 1995 and now, nearly 16 years later, we have gotten almost numb to the mention of IPv6 even though broad scale adoption still has not occurred. As captured in this recent Von blog, there are few things you can keep in mind to ensure you drive a smooth IP transit change and protect your networked assets for years to come.
One of the first important things to keep in mind for IP transit is that the exhaustion of IPv4 only refers to unallocated blocks of addresses. Savvy service providers have allocated the subscriber pool well in advance of the forecasted need and no one will take those away. IPv4 allocations will be protected, even if they are unused.
Multicast services are not facing the same challenges as unicast as it does not face the same exhaustion problem. As a result, all multicast traffic, such as IPTV (News - Alert) services, can remain on IPv4.
Video set-top boxes used by subscribers should also remain on IPv4 domains, per the Broadband Forum guidelines. This is an important guideline for IP transit as standards are still being developed to facilitate eventual migration to IPv6 later this decade. All VoIP traffic should also remain on private IPv4 domains to drive optimum security.
The focus on IP transit to IPv6 suggests that the movement will be gradual. Service providers do have an obligation to provide IPv6 services to subscribers and the ideal scenario includes using the same broadband facilities that are currently being used for IPv4 connections. To make use of these addresses, service providers will have to make procedural decisions and set up infrastructure.
The best way to ensure that you can drive a smooth transition and properly manage your IP transit is to develop an IPv6 plan. For full-scale IPv6 adoption, talk to your staff and educate them on the challenges at hand and how you will overcome them. Next, talk to network component vendors, gain an understanding of your limitations and ask for suggestions. Investigate alternatives to components that will not work in IPv6 and talk to your upstream ISP to understand their plans for IPv6.
The thought of IP transit and moving to an all IPv6 environment can seem daunting when you look at it in the broad concepts. The reality, however, is that IPv6 is coming and you will be much better equipped to handle the challenges it presents if you address them now. This will put you miles ahead of the competition and better position you for dominance in the future.Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Erin Monda