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IPv6: The Time Has Come

IPv6’s time has come“IPv6’s time has come. For a long time considered a satisfactory but too costly technical solution to implement, IPv6 is now an issue that cannot be ignored.” Thus begins the preamble for the V6 World Congress Inaugural Event.

Conference Day One: On Tuesday, February 8th, Mark Townsley, of Cisco opened the meeting with the first keynote presentation: Business Case for IPv6 -- giving an overview of the state of the Internet and the Networking Industry. The central theme of the meeting was how “…as an industry we need to work together to create a network effect, in order to stimulate a virtuous cycle of IPv6 deployment amongst all the players in the industry.”

Erik Kline of Google spoke at the meeting along with distinguished guests. Google, Facebook, Comcast, Akamai and others highlighted what they were working on. Content providers such as YouTube also spoke about their involvement in IPv6. Alexandre Cassen from Free (Iliad Group) made an announcement that they already have more than 490,000 users on IPv6. Free Telecom’s new Freebox gives new subscribers IPv6 by default.

“Free is committed to providing the latest innovations for its customers, including full support today for the IP Next-Generation Network, IPv6. We have chosen the Cisco Series Aggregation Services Routers ASR 1000 router for their support of an integrated high-performance IPv6 Rapid Deployment or 6rd technology, which allows us to supply IPv6 to our users in a remarkably simple and cost-efficient manner.”
Maxime Lombardini, chief executive officer, Free (Iliad Group, France)

Day Two: Even Steve Deering, founder/father of IPv6, came out of an eight-year retirement to make his first and possibly last appearance. Steve worked with Cisco in the 90’s, making major contributions to IPv6 protocol specifications. Steve sat across from a group of twenty-something-year-olds who are currently deploying the essence of one of his major projects, this was a scene that was said to be “amazing” to witness.

Day Three concentrated on World IPv6 Day. Several industry leaders discussed the technologies involved in enabling IPv4 and IPv6 to coexist, and in particular, flipping the switch. The critical issue is putting AAAA records into the worldwide DNS systems, which will return an IPv6 address, therefore ensuring accurate routing to IPv6 resources, resulting in seamless transition. Qualified service providers such as Free, who already have a production quality IPv6 network, use DNS Whitelisting to enable IPv6 routing on a daily basis. Google serves these websites with AAAA today. Comcast has written an Internet draft on the issues around DNS whitelisting and would like to see the world move to a “permanent World IPv6 Day” so that everyone is always getting AAAA data.

iBahn, a global Internet services provider, provided Cisco WiFi access points for IPv6 Internet connectivity for all attendees at the conference. This provided a uniquely tangible display of IPv6 innovation and Cisco repeatedly received significant recognition for it.

The question is no longer if IPv6 is going to find its rightful place but when. IPv4 exhaustion being a fact, the industry needs an easy migration path from the existing installed base to an IPv6 enabled network. Cisco’s Carrier-Grade IPv6 (CGv6) solution with the three approaches of Preserve, Prepare, and Prosper is a simple framework for this transition.

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