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November 21, 2006

Is IPv6 in your future? If so, when?

Maybe it is because at StillSecure we deal with the federal government an awful lot, but we have been hearing from customers about how important it is for our products to support IPv6 for some time.  The federal government has mandated that all of their networks and the applications that run on it must be IPv6 compliant by June, 2008.  However, an article by Andrew Hickey over TechTarget, referencing a research report by TheInfoPro, says that IPv6 is just not catching on despite the hype.  The research shows that despite the hype, only 5% of organizations have IPv6 in place now and only 18% have at least some interest in deploying it in the next 12 to 18 months.  Not exactly an overwhelming tide of support.

This is in spite of the fact that most every major networking vendor in the world has built IPv6 into their product already and the federal mandate is in place.  So the question is:  What is it going to take to move IPv6 forward?  Good question.  Here is the problem, very few people are going to move to this unless there is a compelling reason to do so.  That is the way capitalism works.  So some reasons to move according to the article are:

  • They want to gather experience though it is not yet business critical.
  • They run out of IPv4 address space.
  • They need end-to-end security they can't get through NAT.
  • They want to deploy VoIP and stumble with NAT.
  • They want to use an application that uses IPv6 features and is not available for IPv4.
  • They want to use mobile IPv6.
  • They need to upgrade their backbone and switching hardware
    anyway, and can use that as an opportunity to turn on IPv6 at the same

My biggest reason for supporting IPv6 is the possibility for improving security across the network.  In my mind that may be reason enough alone to go for it, but we will have to wait and see.  I am interested to see what other folks think about this. Let me know where you stand on IPv6.


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