IPv6 laggards to lose big business

Web sites on IPv4 invisible to China, India.

Emerging markets such as China and India rely on IPv6 and cannot visit Web sites that do not support the new protocol.

Emerging markets such as China and India rely on IPv6 and cannot visit Web sites that do not support the new protocol.

Organisations will lose business unless their networks support the next generation of Internet addresses, experts say.

The next generation Internet Protocol version 6 (Ipv6) will replace the 25 year-old IPv4 architecture as available IP addresses dry up over the next 18 to 30 months, experts say .

IPv6Forum Downunder president Mike Biber said customers in emerging markets such as China and India rely on IPv6 and cannot visit Web sites that do not support the new protocol.

“China has a large number of IPv6 users who won't see your Web site if you don't support IPv6,” Biber said.

“It is beholden to us as trading partners to support IPv6, but adoption is weak.

Pundits argue rapid exhaustion of available IPv4 addresses is comparable to the global food and petrol shortage, but has largely slipped beneath the radar of those outside the coal face of IT.

“A lot of products like Windows Vista already support IPv6, so business should dual-stack support for both protocols.”

Experts have warned of the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses for almost a decade and say ISPs and hardware vendors have not done enough to support its successor.

Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) chief scientist Geoff Huston told <I>Computerworld</I> in August that business has little economic incentive to invest in IPv6.

“Nothing has seriously been done about it. There isn't an economic reason for business to invest in [IPv6] because everything is working at the moment,” Huston said.

About a third of the world's 4.3 billion TCP/IP addresses are owned but unused, and were handed out in the early days of the Internet. General Electric, Stanford University and the United States Department of Defense are some of the organisations that hold giant class A networks, worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. The Defense department, for example, holds more addresses than the whole of Asia.

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