IPv6 - The Independent "Man In The Middle" View

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In conversation with Axel Pawlik, MD of RIPE NCC (which is obviously better than an unripe version).

The RIPE NCC is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that supports the infrastructure of the Internet in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia. The most prominent activity of the RIPE NCC is to act as a Regional Internet Registry (RIR) providing global Internet resources (IPv4, IPv6) and related services to a current membership base of around 6,800 members in over 75 countries. So these guys are involved at the heart of the IPv6 movement.  Here's Axel's views on a few key areas:

What is at the heart of the IPv4/IPv6 issue?

"Although the IANA's pool of available IPv4 addresses is exhausted, the RIPE NCC can still assign IPv4 addresses to its members from its own reserves of IPv4 address space. We cannot predict how long this supply will last."

"IPv4 addresses and IPv6 addresses can't communicate directly with each other. So, before IPv6 addresses can be used to access the Internet, your organisation's networks, services and products need to be IPv6 compatible or enabled. This requires planning and investment in time, equipment and training. New hardware and software is required to make networks ready for an IPv6-based Internet."

IPv6 - What's The Deal?

"Unless businesses act now to safeguard their networks, the future expansion of the Internet could be compromised. IPv6 is the next generation of IP addressing.  Designed to account for the future growth of the Internet, the pool of IPv6 addresses contains 340 trillion, trillion, trillion unique addresses. This huge number of addresses is expected to accommodate the predicted growth and innovation of the Internet and Internet-related services over the coming years."

How will my customers be affected by the deployment of IPv6 in my networks?

"End users of the Internet may not notice any difference when using the Internet with an IPv6 address or an IPv4 address. However, if you do not invest in IPv6 infrastructure now, in the future there may be parts of the Internet that your customers cannot reach with an IPv4 address if the destination is on an IPv6-only network."

What needs to be done?

  • Network operators should ensure that their networks are IPv6 enabled and can be used by their customers to access other IPv6 networks.
  • Software producers should ensure that that their software is IPv6 compliant.
  • Hardware vendors should ensure that their products are IPv6 compatible.
  • Content providers should prepare networks so that they are accessible using IPv6 as well as IPv4.

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