Posted on August 9, 2018
Have you migrated to IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6)? It appears that there is a growing reluctance among business owners to make the move. Recent reports from Google show that in 2012 when IPv6 was launched there was an uptake of 1%. Fast forward 6 years and this figure is only just approaching 25% – so what is stopping businesses making the move to IPv6?
Everything on the internet has a unique address to identify it by; just like the fingerprints on your hand, the internet needed a way to identify each device that was connected. Since the birth of the internet a lot has changed; billions of devices are now connected, or internet enabled, and IPv4 is struggling to cope. When IPv4 was launched it allowed IP addresses at 32 bit; this translates into approximately 4 billion addresses. At a time when computers were relatively limited and restricted to desks, the volume seemed adequate. However, fast forward to 2017 and the number of connected devices has grown at an exponential rate.
This is where IPv6 comes into play. IPv6 is the bigger sister of IPv4. It has the capacity to support many more IP addresses than IPv4. It can also implement features not currently available in IPv4.
With the realisation that IPV4 was eventually going to run out of available IP addresses, many businesses started to use Network Address Translation (NAT), a workaround allowing businesses that have thousands of connected devices/systems to remap one IP address space into another. This workaround preserved global address space by only using one internet-routable IP address of a Network Address Translation (NAT) for an entire private network.
Another reason that there has been a slow uptake of IPv6 is cost and resource. At the moment the NAT system seems to be working and therefore businesses won’t make the move until it becomes critical to do so. Migrating over to IPv6 will be a costly exercise that will swallow resource without a clear benefit to do so.
IPv6 extends IP addresses from 32 bits to 128 bits, which in IP address terms offers 340 undecillion (3.4×1038) addresses. This allows for continued growth and provides some relief for the reduced number of available network addresses currently on offer with IPv4.
IPv6 also offers additional security, including the ability to run end-to-end encryption. Sophos reports that ‘the encryption and integrity-checking used in current VPNs is a standard component in IPv6, available for all connections and supported by all compatible devices and systems. Widespread adoption of IPv6 will therefore make man-in-the-middle attacks significantly more difficult.’
Migrating from IPv4 to IPv6 requires planning, knowledge and careful consideration of existing infrastructure. Sophos warns that without careful planning IT teams are very likely to run into problems by deploying IPv6 in the same way they implemented IPv4.
Our team of experts can help you answer questions like how will your WAN and internet service providers support IPv6? Do you require hardware or software to migrate to IPv6? How many public IP addresses or servers do you need to migrate?
If you are in any doubt of how to migrate to IPv6 then seeking professional services may be the best route to ensure you have a seamless transition. Our teams of experts are on-hand to guide you through the process. If you would like to speak to us about migrating your business from IPv4 to IPv6 then please get in contact with us.