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The IPv6 Forum president’s advice for Canadian network managers

Latif Ladid has been warning about the dangers of not moving to the Web’s new addressing system for years. Why he’s still not backing down. First in a series

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This is the first post of a five part series based on an interview with IPv6 expert Latif Ladid discussing the enterprise challenges and issues relating to enterprise deployment including: pain points, security, best practices/business case and future predictions.

The year 2013 is a new year and when it comes to the backbone network in the enterprise, the sky’s the limit when it comes to IPv6 adoption.

According to Latif Ladid, president of the IPv6 Forum, if network managers haven’t already thought about developing an IPv6 strategy for mobile and fixed networks, they are already behind the curve.  Latid was most recently at the Anaheim-based communications technology conference IEEE GLOBECOM 2012, where he discussed IPv6 protocol, penetration rates and overall adoption.

When it comes to overall IPv6 penetration from a global perspective, the technology protocol finally reached the one per cent mark, which is good news, Ladid notes. This past year was significant in that large web firms, major internet service providers, and websites — Google, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, YouTube — all made the switch in permanently enabling IPv6 in June 2012.

“These top websites generate almost 80 per cent of the world’s traffic. One of the most important indicators is that within the last five months we have doubled the IPv6 traffic. In the days of IPv4 it took a year for traffic to double,” says Latid.

Fundamentally, Latid points out that any IPv6 transition must occur in earlier rather than later stages to maintain not only technology parity between IPv4 features, but also parity from a competitive business model standpoint. And in this case, being an early adopter is a good thing considering that upgrade costs will likely rise the longer organizations put it off, he argues.

It’s about scale and extending the Internet: adding new servers and new services is contingent on it. Knowing that IPv6 supports more than 340 sextillion addresses compared to IPv4’s relatively paltry four billion should be looked at carefully; he added that within the next five years there is projected to be significant IPv6 growth on the mobile and wireless side of things as well.

“Basically, when you’ve run out of IP addresses, you run out of the growth of the internet. It’s as simple as that,” says Ladid. “It’s like when you run out of phone numbers and you have to add more digits and area codes.”

Moving to IPv6 is essentially about anticipating future growth and better positioned for reaching out of new customers, notes Ladid. Organizations by and large now understand the need to migrate and now it’s about developing strategies to manage the switch efficiently and cost-effectively.   Making that switch over to IPv6 involves significant changes to communication systems and management processes, he says. That said, he adds that there can be key challenges and issues during the process. It’s also about strategic transitioning — even if you decide to run IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously, making the full switch is the goal because “you don’t want to run two networks at the same time.”

Get more in-depth information by reading “Planning the Transition to IPv6” today.

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