Web sites must support IPv6 by 2012, expert warns

Less than 10 percent left in IPv4 space

IPv6 will take over from the legacy IPv4

IPv6 will take over from the legacy IPv4

Corporations and government agencies must IPv6-enable their public-facing Web sites in the next 24 months or risk upsetting a growing number of visitors with lower-grade connectivity.

"The drop-dead deadline for external Web sites to support IPv6 is January 1, 2012," warns John Curran, President and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, which distributes blocks of IP addresses to North American ISPs and other network operators. "When we get to the end of 2011, we're going to have a lot of people connecting over IPv6 and that doesn't bode well for the content providers who don't support IPv6."

IPv6 is the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, which is called IPv4.

IPv6: The essential guide  

IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support around 4 billion IP addresses. The Regional Internet Registries including ARIN announced Tuesday that more than 90% of IPv4 addresses have been allocated.

IPv6 is designed to solve the problem of IPv4 address depletion. It uses a 128-bit addressing scheme and can support so many billions of IP addresses that the number is too big for most non-techies to understand. (IPv6 supports 2 to the 128th power of IP addresses.)

Curran is urging Web site operators to deploy IPv6 following this week's revelation that less than 10% of IPv4 addresses are available.

Industry experts predict the rest of the IPv4 address supply will run out in 2012.

"We're down to the final 10% in the glass," Curran says. "Most people understand that when you're down to 10% of something, you're pretty much running out. We're there now."

When IPv4 addresses run out, carriers will give IPv6 addresses to their new customers. Those IPv6 users are likely to favor IPv6-enabled content rather than traverse gateways in order to access lesser-performing IPv4 content.

"Unless you're willing to have the path between you and one of your customers go through a third-party gateway that you don't know and that you don't have control over, you want to add IPv6 to your Web site," Curran says. "Then when customers try to access your site, you have a straight path with IPv6 and with IPv4."

Curran says it's more important for U.S. CIOs to IPv6-enable their Web sites than it is for them to support IPv6 on their internal networks.

"The most important thing for enterprises is to make sure the content on the Internet gets IPv6 connectivity turned on in addition to IPv4. That's the top priority," Curran says. "Changing your internal network to support IPv6 is really based on when you see the benefits of making that transition, and that will vary by company. But your external, public-facing Web site affects many other organizations."

Only a handful of popular U.S. Web sites support IPv6, including those operated by Google, Netflix, Limelight and Comcast.

Usage of IPv6 grew significantly in 2009, although it still represents a sliver of overall Internet traffic. Several carriers including Hurricane Electric and NTT America reported that IPv6 traffic on their networks doubled in 2009.

Tags ipv4ipv6

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carolyn Duffy Marsan

Network World

1 Comment

Anonymous

1

We should be doing more

As the article says, it's vital that IPv6 capability should be activated with some urgency.

It's not just a tech issue. It will increasingly affect Net users, whether they realise it or not. The need is not just for v6 traffic to double this year but probably to grow by at least ten times to avoid the potential train wreck ahead. We could be doing a lot more to raise awareness with the public beyond sites like this so that people understand the issues.

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?