Carriers ready for IPv6 launch day

06 June 2012 |

June 6 marks the official launch day for Internet Protocol version 6 technology, the next generation of Internet Protocol.

The day long event, sponsored by the Internet Society, is seen as an opportunity for internet players to confirm their commitment to deploying IPv6.

The launch of IPv6 comes in expectation that the current IPv4 system, which makes available 4.3 billion addresses, will be insufficient in the near future.

The new IPv6 system will provide a maximum of 340 undecillion addresses (1 undecillion equals 10 followed by 35 zeros in the British numbering system), 160 billion times more than IPv4. This is expected to ensure availability of new IP addresses for the foreseeable future.

As the external transport mechanisms of the internet, carriers are expected to upgrade any equipment involved in the delivery of service to customers.

France Telecom-Orange said that Orange Poland would be its first subsidiary to offer IPv6 connectivity services to its customers and from today the websites of Orange France and Orange Business Services will be among the first major sites to be IPv6 compatible. The carrier asserted that the IPv6 launch is vital to the evolution of its networks as part of its Conquests 2015 plan.

Application delivery vendor F5 Networks announced today that it had enabled BT’s Dual Stack project, allowing the British Carrier complete translation between IPv4 and IPv6 addresses on in its existing network. “We knew we needed to become more accessible to everyone using the Internet, whether they’re an IPv6 user or an IPv4 user, and the F5 solution has allowed us to do that without substantial re-engineering,” said David Osborne, IPv6 programme director at BT.

Spanish carrier Telefónica said that it has begun transitioning its global operations to IPv6, giving priority to regions where IPv4 addresses were forecast to deplete first. The carrier said that it expected the transition to last through 2013 and beyond.

In some regions upgrading is considered less urgent with no shortage of IPv4 addresses expected in Africa until 2015-2016.

Following a successful 24-hour test period of IPv6 deployment in June 2011, the transition is expected to be relatively smooth. “Everything appears to be in place, the test rounds from IPv6 test day last year were successful with no major event, so we’re not getting a sense that this is a Y2K cutover. It appears to be a fairly paced and well prepared conversion,” said Mike Lodato, SVP sales and marketing at network equipment reseller Network Hardware Resale.

NTT Communications has said that enterprises which do not transition to IPv6 from IPv4 could suffer from impaired communications, loss of business opportunities and obstacles to business expansion. The carrier claims that benefits of IPv6 deployment include device-to-device communications, enhanced mobility, new web solutions like video conferencing and the provision for growth.

However, Lodato warned against unnecessary network equipment upgrades when the majority of enterprises already have IPv6-ready equipment. “We had some smaller and mid-sized companies coming to us saying they had to upgrade their equipment because an original equipment manufacturer told them they needed to because of IPv6. When customers spoke to us they ended up keeping legacy equipment,” he said.