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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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