Today is World IPv6 Launch day. World IPv6 Launch is a follow-on event to last year’s IPv6 day where IPv6 was used for a day. The World IPv6 Launch is the ultimate recognition of the “world” turning on IPv6 and leaving it on: a true milestone for the Internet.
Cisco, along with major Internet Service Providers, home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world are coming together to permanently enable IPv6. So as we celebrate the permanent launch of IPv6, one may wonder how enterprise networks can benefit from IPv6. Not only will IPv6 benefit the core of your network but the WLAN as part of the overall network will benefit.
In the past, the perception was that the US Military and China were the ones who were driving IPv6 deployments. That is no longer the case; the fact that there are a limited number of IPv4 addresses doesn’t just affect the just Service Providers but also large enterprise customers. Whether you are a large manufacturer with plants around the world, a university with a growing number of wireless devices or a global financial bank, you all can benefit from IPv6.
Also, more and more devices are configured to use IPv6 today. iPads, Droid-based tablets and PCs w/ Windows 7 all are IPv6 ready. As the BYOD revolution continues, these devices will be ready for connectivity in an IPv6 network. In addition, many service providers are looking to offer IPv6 in the home. If this happens, people will want their devices to connect to their working network using the same network protocol used in their home. Therefore, as these networks move to a BYOD policy, a large number of devices will be added, these devices will not only require an address but due to the mobility of the devices, the release time will have to be shortened. It is expected that either of these companies could be giving out over 1 million IPv4 addresses in a few years.
For example, a large financial bank in Europe gives out 600,000 IPv4 addresses a day. Because of this, the DHCP servers have to be fortified so they are overloaded with requests from all the devices accessing the network. Add to this, the increase in DHCP request due to the ever increasing number wireless devices accessing the network. By moving to IPv6, the congested DHCP Servers release times can set to be days instead of hour or minutes — because with IPv6 and the amount of address space is very large. This will add to the stability of the network and also reduce IT issues that are seen with IPv4 addresses not being refreshed properly. The large number of DHCP request will not be as taxing on the DHCP servers as well. For example, a large retail networks who has 250,000 employees, by moving to IPv6, it is possible that a device can get its IPv6 address while at the facility in Mexico for example and then use it in the New York facility that same week.
From a trend perspective, the large financial and retail enterprise customers will move towards an IPv6 deployment first. This will be a regional move as well with the US lagging behind EMEA and APAC. This could be attributed to the fact that these other regions are running out of IPv4 address space sooner than the US with 60% of IPv4 addresses allocated to the US. However, multi-national companies will be part of the move towards IPv6 namely because of their offices being in one of these regions and will need consistent across the network. For example a large manufacturing company that is based in the US but has their entire plant in China all IPv6 and will need to migrate their global offices to support IPv6.
So as we celebrate the World Launch of IPv6 let remember that Cisco is THE router expert and can help these networks plan for IPv6. Cisco can help these networks understand the need and understand the benefits of IPv6. From a mobility perspective, these devices will wirelessly access the network using IPv6. Cisco’s Aironet Access Points not only support IPv6 today but are designed to handle the heavy load of bandwidth and capacity that BYOD will demand.
Lastly, Cisco along with a number of other vendors and organizations are toasting via video this Internet milestone. Last week, I had the privilege to spend some time with the IT department at the University of South Florida. In this video, they were able to share their thoughts on the advantages of IPv6 along with giving a toast to the World Launch of IPv6. Enjoy!