Today, IPv6 World Day, is the widely-anticipated 24 hour period that many large organizations including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai, Verizon and hundreds of other organizations, will use to distribute content over IPv6 for a 24-hour “test flight” to prepare their services for IPv6.
IPv6 was designed mainly to solve the IP address exhaustion problem, increasing the number of IP address available to Internet-connected devices. IPv4 addresses, represented by a 32-bit number, enabled 4,294,967,296 (4.3 billion) IP addresses. IPv6 uses 128 bits, allowing 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 (340 trillion trillion trillion) addresses.
With a rapidly growing shortage in available IPv4 addresses, World IPv6 Day serves as a reminder that online businesses must act quickly to transition to IPv6 or risk increased costs and limited functionality for Internet users around the globe. Akamai is providing a real-time data visualization of IPv6 Web traffic served from its global platform today which can be see here. To be available at
As Ram Mohan, CTO at Afilias and a SecurityWeek contributor points out, “If you haven’t started to work on an IPv6 strategy yet, you’re probably behind the curve. It will take years for the Internet to fully switch to IPv6, so organizations need to prepare for a world in which both protocols are used simultaneously. CIOs who have not planned IPv6 transition plans as part of their strategic agenda must act now, or risk the entire enterprise online,” Mohan explains.
One key thing to understand about IPv6 is that it is not backwards compatible with IPv4.
“Ensuring your organization can survive the transition through a mixed v4/v6 environment with minimal business impact should be a C-level or board-level concern, much like the Y2K problem was over a decade ago,” Mohan suggests. “Compliance will need to be aligned with business objectives, and these directives need to flow from the top. Just because the Internet as a whole will not experience an IPocalypse, that does not mean you can afford to be complacent about the transition to IPv6. It’s coming, and it’s coming quickly. There’s a lot to consider, and the sooner wired organizations start to consider IPv6 at the strategic level, making it part of their risk management strategies, the better prepared they will be to cope with the transition.”
“World IPv6 Day offers a unique opportunity to test and obtain more information on the operational aspects of deploying IPv6 infrastructure,” said Adam Powers, CTO of Lancope. “IPv4 address exhaustion is happening faster than most people realize, and in the coming years the transition to IPv6 will be all but mandatory. Companies of all sizes should consider the impact IPv6 will have in the long run to avoid the last-minute scramble and widespread security issues that result from procrastination.”
“To successfully transition to IPv6, organizations must consider a number of issues that are often taken for granted in IPv4 environments, including creating secure user policies and accelerating or optimizing IPv6-enabled Web content. Traditional technologies that address these challenges in IPv4 environments don’t work in IPv6 environments,” said Qing Li, chief scientist at Blue Coat Systems.
Related Reading: Is IPv6 Part of Your Risk Management Framework?
Relaated Reading: No IPocalypse, but the IPv6 Transition Still Presents Risks