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, you€™ve heard about IPv6. You may even have given some thought to whether your enterprise should be thinking about IPv6. But if you€™re like most companies, that€™s where it€™s ended.

The reason most people and enterprises didn€™t go much beyond maybe thinking about IPv6 is there hasn€™t been a lot you could do with IPv6 even if you were supporting it, so there wasn€™t much point in spending time or resources. Now that€™s 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 capabilities€”and 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 they€™re doing it for real.

What€™s perhaps more important is that it€™s 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 company€™s 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 you€™re doing. You should become familiar with the differences between IPv4, which is what you€™ve been using all along, and IPv6, which is already available, but which you might not be using.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...