IPv6 Launch Day Serves Notice on Enterprises to Upgrade Their Networks
NEWS ANALYSIS: Most Internet users won’t notice that IPv6 Launch Day happened. They will continue using the Web as always. But IT managers need to be paying close attention.
Sure, youve heard about IPv6. You may even have given some thought to whether your enterprise should be thinking about IPv6. But if youre like most companies, thats where its ended.
The reason most people and enterprises didnt go much beyond maybe thinking about IPv6 is there hasnt been a lot you could do with IPv6 even if you were supporting it, so there wasnt much point in spending time or resources. Now thats changing.
The World IPv6 launch happens at midnight, UTC on June 6, which will is 8 p.m. EDT on June 5 for those of us on the East Coast. At that time, many of the major Internet sites will turn on their IPv6 capabilitiesand this time leave them on permanently. You may remember a year ago on World IPv6 Day, many sites tried out IPv6, but only left it running for a short period of time. Now theyre doing it for real.
Whats perhaps more important is that its more than just the destinations such as Google and Facebook that are turning on IPv6, but so are major ISPs such as Comcast, Time-Warner and AT&T. Hardware makers ranging from Cisco to D-Link are delivering network infrastructure that can handle native IPv6.
The list of participants that have made the commitment to permanently provide IPv6 services is long. There are, for example, more than 3,000 Website operators that have announced IPv6 support. Likewise, there are currently 66 network operators and a few home router vendors. Most modern enterprise routers have been able to support IPv6 for some time, although it may need to be turned on through the configuration settings in order to work. The same is true for most reasonably modern servers.
You probably also know that the computers in your company also support IPv6. Dual-stack IP, in which the computer supports both IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time, has been around for a while. This has been the case with Windows computers, Macintosh machines and most flavors of Linux for years. In addition, you can use your iPad or iPhone with IPv6, many Android devices support IPv6 as does the BlackBerry PlayBook.
So chances are your companys network is already IPv6-ready without requiring a great deal of effort on your part. But you still need to take steps to be ready, and part of that means you have to know what youre doing. You should become familiar with the differences between IPv4, which is what youve been using all along, and IPv6, which is already available, but which you might not be using.