Will Finally IPv6 Arise?

IPv6 Logo

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a document to warn goverments and business about the near-future IPv4 addresses shortage. Actually 85% of the IPv4 address space of already assigned (total space is 2^32 == 4,294,967,296) and should be fully assigned by 2011! Of course, a lot of big networks are already NATed (hidden) behind a few public addresses but there are still a lot of wasted addresses.

The IPv6 protocol is stable and available for a few years now. I remember when I was playing with the 6bone nine years ago:

person:       Xavier Mertens
address:      Lozenberg, 22 1932 Zaventem Belgium
phone:        +32 2 717 17 00
e-mail:       xavier@euro.net
nic-hdl:      XM1-6BONE
remarks:      First registration
remarks:      This object is automatically converted from the RIPE181 registry
notify:       xavier@euro.net
changed:      xavier@euro.net 19990701
changed:      auto-dbm@whois.6bone.net 20010117
source:       6BONE

IPv6 offers many new interesting features compared to the version “4”:

  • A much bigger address space (2^128). To make things clear, any device could potentially have it’s own fixed IP
  • Autoconfiguration
  • Native encryption and security features

Check here for a full list of IPv6 specs.

But the IPv6 protocol was never massively deployed. Why? IMHO, due to its relative complexity. IPv6 is still difficult to deploy natively on a network. Most of the time, you have to encapsulate IPv6 into IPv4 to reach your IPv6 backbone. Not much ISP already provide IPv6 connectivity and , AFAIK, none in Belgium except Belnet (see here)

Implementing IPv6 on a network is a long and difficult project (with huge costs). All devices and applications must be IPv6 ready. Security, as usual, is a key point (are your firewalls IPv6 ready?) . It’s impossible to switch from IPv4 to IPv6 in “one click”. It means a lot of work for IT teams in the future!

One comment

  1. …and while you don’t have “native” IPv6, you still can connect to IPv6 sites.

    For Windows XP SP2:
    1) netsh interface ipv6 install
    2) shutdown -r -t 0 [only if netsh asks you to]
    3) Googletest it (http://ipv6.google.com – with an animated logo!)

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