With the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses expected to be exhausted as early next year, now is the time for businesses and government agencies across the globe to prepare for a smooth transition to the next-generation Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).
According to ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers), fewer than 5.5 percent of IPv4 addresses remain. Organizations need to plan now to ensure that e-mail, Web and business applications will be accessible via both protocols once version 4 runs out.
As an industry leader in the development, testing and allocation of IPv6 addressing, Verizon Business is offering the following tips to smooth the transition:
Determine business impact. Gain an understanding of the IPv4 address depletion situation and IPv6 address transition by reading up on studies by industry analysts and other experts. Answer these questions: Is your network continuing to expand into new locations that will require publicly-routed IP addressing? Does your business depend on the Internet for ecommerce or content hosting? (Consumer-focused businesses and online social networks, for example, may be among the first wave to be affected by the IPv4 address depletion.) How do IPv6-centric applications such as Windows Direct Access affect your business? And how will 4G wireless networks -- the fourth generation IPv6-centric wireless standard - affect the connectivity of smart phones and wireless network appliances to your organization's infrastructure?
Determine if your service provider has a plan. Learn your service provider's timelines for delivering IPv6 coverage, the provider's implementation methods for connecting your business to the IPv4 and IPv6-addressed Internets, and how these methods will affect your business if, for example, you rely on geographical IP reporting or your network transports time-sensitive information.
Evaluate your business' internal infrastructure. Determine which equipment is IPv6-compatible and which will require upgrading, as well as which methods of IPv6 transport will work for the various segments within your infrastructure: Will your internal infrastructure be supporting IPv4 and IPv6 natively? Will you be able to adopt a "dual stack" approach where both versions can run on a single device? Can segments of your infrastructure support a tunneling implementation such as GRE Tunneling? Are your back-office systems, such as servers and applications, IPv6 compatible? Additionally, an assessment of vendor capabilities for supporting IPv6 should be completed.
Make an investment in IPv6. Gain IPv6 expertise for your business operations. Verify that your networking and IT products are IPv6 compliant. Ensure all new hardware and software purchases support IPv6. To confirm that a product is IPv6 compliant, look for an ICSA Labs seal. ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon Business, is one of only two labs accredited by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology to test IPv6 product capabilities.
Develop an IPv6 migration plan for internal and external networking. Designate a companywide IPv6 readiness/transition date based on business needs and industry analysis of IPv4 address depletion and application/networking dependence for IPv6. For example, ensure that all new networks and expansions of existing networks support IPv6, and that all new services and customer network capabilities support IPv6 as well. And, of course, test your migration plans to ensure functionality.
"Verizon Business has been at the forefront of IPv6 testing and adoption for more than a decade," said Anthony Recine, vice president of network and communications solutions for Verizon Business. "We are prepared to work with our customers to ensure a smooth transition to the next-generation Internet Protocol, which will not only ensure the continued growth of the Internet, but will open doors to future technologies."
(Note: Listen to an audio podcast on Verizon Business' IPv6 transition tips.)
Verizon Business is a pioneer in developing and delivering IPv6 capabilities to the market. In the mid-1990s, Verizon Business (as the former MCI) developed a high-speed network called vBNS (very high performance backbone network service). This network, which later evolved to vBNS+, was one of the first to deploy IPv6 in 1998, and became the second network in North America to be allocated production IPv6 address space from ARIN for live production traffic. Today, U.S. government agencies use the vBNS+ network to transport IPv6 traffic.
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ), is a global leader in communications and IT solutions. We combine professional expertise with one of the world's most connected IP networks to deliver award-winning communications, IT, information security and network solutions. We securely connect today's extended enterprises of widespread and mobile customers, partners, suppliers and employees - enabling them to increase productivity and efficiency and help preserve the environment. Many of the world's largest businesses and governments - including 96 percent of the Fortune 1000 and thousands of government agencies and educational institutions - rely on our professional and managed services and network technologies to accelerate their business. Find out more at www.verizonbusiness.com.