Opinion: For most IT managers, the transition to IPv6-capable hardware and software will be a difficult one.
June 2008 will be a milestone for IPv6 adoption. By that time, U.S. military and government agencies must source IPv6-capable hardware and software. For most IT managers, the switch to IPv6 will be an onerous transition involving extensive equipment, application and protocol tests.
Click here to read more about the switch to IPv6.
While NAT (Network Address Translation) has staved off one of the most prominent drivers for a next-generation IP architecturenamely, too few public addressesgovernment adoption will almost certainly increase IPv6 use in the private sector. Growing IPv6 adoption in the rest of the world, along with military and federal use of the technology, is setting the stage for significant changes in the way network managers operate and troubleshoot IP infrastructure.
In IPv6, routers advertise their presence using the same protocol that network nodes use to learn about neighbors. Default gateways, which were designated either explicitly in endpoint network configuration or more commonly assigned via DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) Version 4, are now distributed through nodes that listen on the network for address assignment and other available services. This means many troubleshooting routines that network managers now use as second nature must be relearned in an IPv6 world.
For example, network managers accustomed under IPv4 to checking in a routers ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) cache to learn the association of a MAC (Media Access Control) address to an IP address must, in IPv6, learn to look elsewhere, as the new protocol has dispensed with ARP, replacing it with the Neighbor Discovery protocol. On Windows machines, this means running netsh from the command line to query a neighbor machine residing on the same network to fetch this association information.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
Cameron Sturdevant is the executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Prior to ENP, Cameron was technical analyst at PCWeek Labs, starting in 1997. Cameron finished up as the eWEEK Labs Technical Director in 2012. Before his extensive labs tenure Cameron paid his IT dues working in technical support and sales engineering at a software publishing firm . Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his analysis is grounded in real-world concern. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.