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Migrating to IPv6

Our organisations and businesses depend heavily on networks, and on TCP/IP. But our current version of TCP/IP (IP version 4) has shortcomings that have until recently been largely masked by our efforts to work around them.

The shortcomings of IPv4 are now becoming apparent to most organisations through excessive network management overheads, security concerns, restrictions introduced on users and more.

The need for a robust, secure, restriction-free, mobile-ready network infrastructure is surely unquestioned. But there is a key issue to be dealt with now:

"How much effort is required trying to make IPv4 suitable for these tasks, compared to deploying IPv6?"

"How much better would a move to IPv6 be instead?"

What's happening with IPv6?

It may seem strange, but home users might be amongst the first to use IPv6. Even stranger, perhaps, that this is because IPv6 is easier to use than IPv4!

IPv6 is seen by many as being vital to the success of home and mobile computing.<.p>

Over recent months, IPv6 has gathered momentum fast, with most major vendors now supporting IPv6. Microsoft Windows XP has IPv6 built-in and several mobile devices and PDAs have been released with an IPv6 stack.

Corporates should now be deciding not whether, but when and how, to begin deploying IPv6.
ALL corporates and network operators should now be planning their IPv6 migration.

Here are some simple but important Questions and Answers about IPv6.

Q and A

Here are some simple but important questions and answers about IPv6.

Q. Can my organisation begin migration to IPv6 today?
A. For many, the answer is YES.
 
Q. If so, then how?
A. There are several strategies for migrating to IPv6, including dual-stacking, IPv6 over IPv4 encapsulation or "tunneling", 6to4 tunneling, and IPv4 tunneling over IPv6.

These strategies are clearly defined, and although most organisations will require a combination of these, the 6to4 approach will suit many organisations wanting to deploy IPv6 in a least two different scenarios.

 
Q. What are the real benefits of migrating to IPv6?
A. There are actually some very significant benefits, in terms of both network infrastructure and end user services.

In short, these include reduced network management costs; true mobility for laptop users and mobile/PDA users; enhanced security; elimination of the problems caused by Network Address Translation (NAT); a proper network infrastructure for desktop conferencing and voice over IP.

"The Case for IPv6," an Internet Draft document produced by the Internet Activities Board, can be found at: http://www.6bone.net/misc/case-for-ipv6.html

 
Q. Will the migration to IPv6 really reduce my operating costs?
A. YES. As soon as IPv6 is operational, within even part of your network, you will achieve cost savings. Your network will also be more functional, more secure and mobile-ready.
 
Q. Is IPv6 supported by my equipment and software vendors?
A. To an extent, this depends on your network vendor, and more so on the operating systems that you use. However all organisations can deploy IPv6 now into at least part of their network infrastructure, and into their user base.
 
Q. How mature is IPv6 technology?
A. It is probably more mature in the network components (routers and switches) than in most operating systems, but this is changing rapidly.
 
Q. What elements of IPv6 are "missing" at present, and how significant are these omissions?
A. Again, this depends upon your network vendor and their phased strategy for supporting the different facilities that IPv6 offers.
In terms of IPv6 standards work, Mobile IPv6 security, for example, is currently being re-worked to improve performance.
 
Q. What should I do next?
A. LEVER Technology Group have gained valuable experience deploying IPv6 and Mobile IP solutions, and as vendor-independent communications industry experts, we are well-positioned to advise on all aspects of IPv6 technology.
 

E-mail: for details of the skills we can bring to your organisation

Our technical courses on IP networking includes course 324: Migrating to IPv6 - a hands-on practical course working with IPv6 implementations from several vendors.

For further information on IPv6 and our range of services, call: +44 (0) 113 398 3300 or e-mail:

IPv6 Resources

We have provided on-line a series of IPv6 support resources, including the collection of IPv6 RFCs, a list of manufacturers currently supporting IPv6, a series of white papers and useful links to a host of IPv6 sites.


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