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Business Case for IPv6 – The Network Effect

Mark Townsley opened the inaugural V6 World Congress 2011, a 3-day conference on IPv6 Internetworking, with a keynote discussion on the business case for IPv6. One of his key messages was to do with the fact that there is strength in numbers, according to the Network Effect. Thus critical mass is required for the transition to begin in earnest and for the eventual switch to IPv6 to come to true fruition.

Theodore Vail of Bell Telephone discovered and learned how to harness the powers of a mathematical equation that describes “The Network Effect” more than 100 years ago as evidenced by the world wide telephony network. In simple terms, the Network Effect states that the more connections (or people) working together in a network, the more robust and more valuable it becomes. Extrapolating this information to the modern day Internet and further the IPv6 Internet we, indeed, believe the future of the Internet is in our hands and it is up to us to join together as a network of participants to keep it going. Such was the spirit of the participants at V6 World Congress, one of realization in how they are all working together to ensure the continued growth and success of the Internet.

The heart of the Internet is technological growth. With IPv4 on the way out, this growth is prone to being stunted. The basis of a study by Dimitri Zenghelis from Cisco IBSG, finds that “network technology has the potential to boost economic growth, sustainably enriching poorer societies.” If the Internet lacks the ability to expand and grow, a likely outcome will be that the innovation we have come to expect will become more and more difficult to achieve, potentially causing the world economy to lose the monetary sustenance it derives from the Network Effect.

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Deploying IPv6 on InteropNet

Cisco is a primary supplier of the network at Interop Las Vegas this year.

The challenge? Build a high-performance, highly available network that can support both IPv4 and IPv6 end-to-end.  Watch this video to learn how Cisco did it.

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Oops Cisco Did it Again – B2B Integrated Social Media Award

The Sky is Falling – oh no it’s worse, IPv4 addresses are running out! That was they key message in the latest Cisco campaign that utilized an integrated social media approach to get its message across. Video was the anchor of this high touch campaign which involved the viewers by allowing them to select the ending of the story and drove them to the Cisco landing page. However it was the integrated social media approach that really set this campaign apart and is the type of planning that should go into every social campaign. One key success factor was that they tapped into existing communities – the Cisco myPlanNet campaign (which by the way was the winner for the B2B integrated social media awards last year had a following in the tens of thousands and rather than start a new community the team tapped into this community to spread awareness about the IPv4/IPv6 campaign. Other existing communities on Twitter, LinkedIn and even Cisco’s Support Forum were also leveraged in addition to blogging about it on the Cisco Service Provider blog.

The results – over 50,000 video views in the first three months – the second most viewed Service Provider video of all time after the first four months! It’s no wonder that this campaign was a runner-up in the B2B integrated social media awards category; congrats to EMC for winning first place for their mega launch! It’s also worth mentioning that Cisco did take home the first place spot for the viral video category which I posted about last week – you can read about it here!

To get the back story of this campaign I was able to meet with Stephen Liu, Senior Manager of the Service Provider Marketing team who was yet again the mastermind behind this successful production. Stephen provides an overview of the campaign, shares some of the impressive metrics and ends with some best practices which he believed led to the success of this campaign (hint: humor and tapping into established communities!). Check it out!

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IPv6: The Five Stages of Grief

When faced with a life changing situation such as the depletion of the IPv4 address space, the emotional reaction tends to track the Kübler-Ross model, better known as The Five Stages of Grief. 

DENIAL:  There is no crisis!  There are lots of IPv4 addresses; we just need to reclaim the ones that are not used. 

The increasing consumption rate of IP addresses combined with the natural inefficiencies inherent in IPv4 subnetting makes complete exhaustion of the IPv4 address space inevitable.  In October 2010, a return of a “/8 block” (16 million addresses) added only one month to the depletion date.  As of April 2011, the Asia-Pacific region alone consumes two /8 network blocks every month.  No amount of conservation or reclamation can solve the problem.

ANGER: What a stupid design!  How could we run out of addresses?

Vint Cerf sends his most sincere apologies.  Nobody imagined the phenomenal growth of the Internet when Vint and his team defined the 32-bit IPv4 address space back in 1977.  The good news is that the problem has been recognized since the 1980s and the IETF has had the successor IPv6 protocol defined since 1998.  You can take advantage of more than a decade of experience in navigating this transition.

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Securing IPv6

In the previous installment of our series of IPv6 security posts, we covered some of the ways addressing has changed in IPv6 compared to IPv4. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the things to consider when securing IPv6 compared to IPv4. Before digging into this topic, however, it is important to remember that while IPv6 may have different security concerns than IPv4, it is not necessarily any more secure than IPv4. Furthermore, the post will focus on those aspects that are different or unique to IPv6, since many of the common best practices for IPv4 networks also apply to IPv6 networks.

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