The amount of devices connecting to the global internet is growing on a daily basis. New products are constantly communicating with each other to provide a better user experience. Running shoes connect to a wireless network to upload speed and distance. Automated temperature and light controls communicate with a central system of a building to keep the cost of energy down. Virtual machines allow for several operating systems to run on the same piece of hardware, thus driving down maintenance costs.
IT departments face the daunting task of supporting the many different devices connecting to their networks, with employee and visitor mobile devices all vying for connection. All devices on the network require addressing in order to connect to the global internet and allow the applications to provide various services to the user. The internet currently uses predominately IPv4 addresses as the scheme for connecting. Publicly available IPv4 addresses have run out, which means that the new IP addressing scheme of IPv6 needs to be used to connect devices to the network.
Plans have been developed to allow the use of IPv6 while not harming existing IPv4 networks. Network equipment must be evaluated to ensure support for all features. Often, firmware updates or new equipment are needed to support these ever growing networks. Programs such as RIPE-501bis, USGv6 Test Program, and the IPv6 Ready Program can be leveraged to evaluate currently available implementations, allowing network operators to focus on deploying IPv6 with less concern for the details of the IPv6 protocol. Are you ready? Remember, stay calm; it's only IPv6.
Timothy Winters, Senior IP Manager, IP Technologies