At the just concluded IPv6 training organized by the Association of Telecommunications Company of Nigeria (ATCON) and African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) Nigeria last month, co-sponsors of the event e.Stream Networks a leading broadband connectivity solutions company identified with organizers on the need to sensitize ICT professionals and Telecommunications companies on the benefits of migrating to IPv6.
As the organization embarks on upgrading its network infrastructure to be IPv6 compliant, it has become pertinent to have a healthy understanding on the usefulness of IPv6 in the internet world.
IPv6 is the latest Internet Protocol (IP) that gives an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the internet.
Intended to replace IPv4, the latest ugradeIPv6 is designed to allow the Internet to grow steadily, both in terms of the number of hosts connected and the total amount of data traffic transmitted.
Can any good come out from IPv6?
- In IPv6 the IP address size is increased from 32 bits to 128 bits
- IPv6 supports a greater number of addressable nodes
- IPv6 provides more levels of addressing hierarchy
- IPv6 offers simpler auto-configuration of addresses
- Ipv6 also supports simplified header format
Increasing the IP address pool was a major factor in the development of IPv6. The biggest benefit of IPv6 is that it will replace the IPv4 32-bit address scheme with a much longer 128-bit address scheme. The IPv4 32-bit address scheme allows for a total of 2^32 addresses while IPv6 allows for 2^128 total addresses.
The last of the IPv4 addresses are long gone, and IPv6 is here. The move to 128-bit addresses demands a fundamental shift and will force many organizations to rethink the way their networks are defended. With the availability of a lot more IP addresses which is more than enough to the point that there could be an IP address for every grain of sand on earth let alone Laptops, smartphones, web cameras and any other smart device that will ever be manufactured and connected to a corporate network.
The benefits for many organizations of this end-to-end IPv6 connectivity could be very significant indeed.
1. Internet of Things (IoT)
In the era of ‘things’ there would be need for more IP addresses which the IPv6 will address.
2. Support for New Services
By eliminating Network Address Translation (NAT), true end-to-end connectivity at the IP layer is restored, enabling new and valuable services. Peer-to-peer networks are easier to create and maintain, and services such as VoIP and Quality of Service (QoS) become more robust.
IPSec, which provides confidentiality, authentication and data integrity, is baked into in IPv6. Because of their potential to carry malware, IPv4 ICMP packets are often blocked by corporate firewalls, but ICMPv6, the implementation of the Internet Control Message Protocol for IPv6, may be permitted because IPSec can be applied to the ICMPv6 packets.
HOW DO COMPANIES GET READY?
- Annual IPv6 trainings and Certifications for IT professionals, Network professionals and Engineers, to equip them with the required skills needed for IPv6 deployment.
- Ensuring that all recently purchased networking equipment purchased are IPv6 compliant
- Set up a research and development team to conduct a pilot test before mass upgrade.