Move to IPv6 with D-Link

Add IPv6 to your network instead of replacing IPv4.

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By  Ashford Published  November 1, 2010

The awareness of the importance of the next generation Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) has been spread, but the actual IPv6 implementation in the business IT environment has been progressing slowly. Currently, only .01 percent of the global IPv6 addresses have been allocated.

IPv6 was introduced to solve the problem of IPv4’s address exhaustion. Due to the massive increase in the number of users, the geographical needs of Internet expansion, and the growing number of Internet-enabled applications on the market, the pool of IPv4 addresses has already dwindled down to only 5 percent and is expected to run out sometime in 2011.

The scarcity of IPv4 address space will force applications to work in a very complex environment with mechanisms that provide local addressing, such as IP address conversion, pooling and temporary allocation techniques. Furthermore, insufficient address spaces will restrict the introduction of applications, and innovative new services that can be rolled out across both business and home networks.

IPv6 quadruples the numbers of network address bits from 32 bits (in IPv4) to 128 bits, which provides the necessary address for future growth. However, the benefit of IPv6 is not just another upgrade of IPv4. IPv6 provides enough IP addresses to connect every networking device on Earth (including smart phones, vehicles, cameras, motorway signs, or TVs) with a unique IP address, instead of the reuse of IP addresses that IPv4 forces us to nowadays. In addition to the benefits of larger address space, IPv6 includes other benefits such as auto configuration that eases the effort of network administration and built-in IPSec for security, which were not defined in IPv4 and mobility features.

Clearly, transitioning to IPv6 is becoming more important for the long-term business health so that enterprises can remain competitive, grow and manage risks.

However, some reasons have suspended enterprise’s IPv6 deployment. The most significant one is that most enterprises do not see immediate needs for investing time and money in IPv6 deployment during a recession with the pressure not to spend money. Moreover, technologies such as NAT are used to extend the IPv4 address exhaustion. Since enterprises still have adequate IPv4 space, there is not any particularly compelling reason to change. Currently IPv6 is lacking in application and has not brought any new business opportunities, it currently only serves as a solution to address deficiency.
 
It is believed that migration from IPv4 to IPv6 will not happen instantaneously. The result means that IPv6 and IPv4 would co-exist on business networks for some time before IPv6 totally takes the lead. As the analysts already pointed out, it’s not yet time for enterprises to jump into IPv6 replacement. Although an IPv6 migration lacks of a compelling deadline, enterprises should get ready and prepare step-by-step for the challenge an eventual IPv6 deployment would involve – from the budget to the deployment strategy – to successfully meet the goals of a network migration.

Even though we’ve seen more and more ISPs accelerating the migration to IPv6, they will remain IPv4 compatible for some time. Japan is the most proactive country to start the IPv6 implementation. In 2001, NTT Com started providing full-scale operations of the IPv6 Internet access service. In the US, Verizon is targeting 2011 for offering a commercial IPv6 service for its FiOS customers, and Comcast just announced that it is starting IPv6 production-level network trials. In Europe, the European Union plans widespread IPv6 deployment by 2010. The European Commission intends, by 2010, that 25% of its users “should be able to connect to the IPv6 Internet and access their most important content and service providers.” It is obvious that very soon there will be more ISPs readying their networks for IPv6 in production mode, not just as trial mode. Therefore it is just a matter of time that businesses without IPv6-ready networks will lose connectivity with the rest of the world. Even if businesses manage to remain connected during the IPv4-to-IPv6 transition, not being IPv6-capable means that they will be missing out on some services that will run only on IPv6.

Therefore, it is very important that organizations start planning their transition to IPv6. The IPv6 deployment is a long-term project that needs to be carefully planned. Presently, we would suggest enterprises to add IPv6 to their networks without replacing IPv4. Enterprises could use trails to gradually figure out which IPv6 transition mechanisms will work the best. For example, a separate IPv6 gateway is relatively easy to use for connection from IPv6 environments in the early deployment to reduce the impact and cost on the existing network.

There are two key points that users need to bear in mind for the IPv6 transition. One is that any network deployment now should be IPv6 enabled. Second is that the backbone infrastructure needs to support IPv6 in order to meet the demands of future IPv6 services. Early planning will help organizations to get ready for a fundamental successful IPv6 transition, and let them take advantage of the next generation of Internet.

D-Link IPv6 Updates

D-Link has been designing and implementing IPv6 since 2005, and has incrementally integrated IPv6 into its product portfolio. D-Link has begun the transition to IPv6 by participating in the ‘IPv6 Logo Testing Program’ to ensure that its products support transitional technologies and provide IPv6 connectivity. D-Link’s IPv6 ready devices have completed the “IPv6 Ready Logo Phase II” certification. Till date, D-Link has more than 21 models that have passed the “IPv6 Ready Logo Phase II” certification. There are more than 5,000,000 units of D-Link IPv6 ready routers that have been sold worldwide. D-Link’s Managed Switch provides a complete IPv4-IPv6 solution, which allows enterprises for a seamless communication during transition and future demand. All new D-Link routers currently ship with the “IPv6 Ready Phase II” certification and logo.

D-Link has IPv6 support in its switches, routers and wireless access points. We will continue to enhance and deliver more IPv6 features into product updates to help enterprises take advantage of the IPv6 technology.

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