The Mayans had foresight that 2012 is going to be an epochal year. Now whether you agree the world is going to end or carry on is up to you. However what we do know is that the telecom skin encircling the planet, aka the Internet, will be suffering if we do not act now.
As the 4 billion IPv4 addresses run out sometime early next decade (current estimates: 2011-2012), the Internet will stop growing if we do not find ways to tackle the exhaust. The successor to IPv4 – IPv6 – allows 340 undecillion addresses or more than 50 billion billion billion per person on earth. Phew! However, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is not trivial and in a previous post I pointed out Large-Scale NAT (LSN) as one solution, which was also mentioned by Jeff Doyle of Network World. While LSN is a way to ‘preserve’ the life of IPv4 investments, new technologies are needed to ‘prepare’ for IPv4 and IPv6 co-existence. Both of these approaches will pan out over many years, and in the interim providers need to continue to ‘prosper’ from the boundless opportunities of the Internet.
This triad of preserve, prepare and prosper has been ably assembled in a blueprint by Cisco with the recent announcement of the Carrier-Grade IPv6 solution (CGv6) . The solution is powered by new product capabilities at industry-leading scale. For example, the Carrier-Grade Services Engine (CGSE) is a new module for the CRS-1 that supports LSN in the order of billions of translations and terabits of throughput. Additional CGv6 capabilities are being introduced in the ASR family and across the entire SP product set. Complementing the products, Cisco provides CGv6 Services to aid customers in making the transition in a controlled, safe and cost-effective manner.
Our customers around the world from Japan (NTT) to China (CERNET) to France (Free) agree on the need to undertake this transition soon.
My colleague, Doug Webster, had noted the industry’s concern on IP addressing during the ITU Conference earlier in September. I had similar discussions last month during SUPERCOMM. And recently the European Commission warned about slow preparations for IPv6. While none of us are predicting the end of the world, the industry certainly needs to plan for the day when the last IPv4 address will be handed out. And for sure I don’t think it will be anything close to what we are seeing in the movie trailers for 2012.