A lot. The Marines, and in fact the entire Department of Defense, were mandated early adopters of IPv6, citing security and operational requirements. They had targeted FY 2008 as the final IPv6 transition date, with the transition plan going dated for 2004.
So I filed a Freedom of Information request for the full transition plan, and eight months later I got my response, embedded here:
The 38-page transition plan details, at a high level, all the steps the Marines took to ensure a smooth, cost effective switch to IPv6 while ensuring backwards compatibility, and there’s a lot of great case study material in there, especially if you’ve been pushing off your own switch.
But big name supporters don’t have everyone convinced that this is the beginning of the IPv6 revolution. As the VP of IP engineering at NTT America, Dorian Kim, told Carolyn Marsan, the Internet “will be even more heavily NATed than it currently is, but life will mostly go on.” On the contrary, chairman of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Russ Housley fears a “very fragile Internet” will result if increased network address translation, as necessitated with IPv4, becomes the case.
A Short History of IPv6
Created by the Internet Engineering Task Force in 1998, IPv6′s primary purpose is to expand the Internet’s address space while adding autoconfiguration, network renumbering, and security through the IPsec protocol. The push for IPv6 adoption has included support from Google, Verizon, Comcast, and especially the U.S. government with its 2008 mandate that all agency networks to demonstrate the capability to carry IPv6 traffic. In July 2010, the Federal Acquisition Regulation changed, requiring government agencies to purchase only IPv6-capable systems.
Whether or not the public is ready, IPv4 addresses will almost certainly run out in the next few years (In fact, Asia’s registry, APNIC, has already depleted its normal reserves). Perhaps that’s what the Mayans meant with their 2012 warnings?
Beating Around the IPv6
If you’re struggling with the question of whether or not to deploy IPv6, there are several options to make transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 easier, such as dual stacking, or running both protocols simultaneously in your network. Network address translation allows the sharing of one public IPv4 address across several users. But users are urged to not stop there. Tools such as OpenDNS’s IPv6 Sandbox allow networking professionals to get their feet wet, starting a full month before World IPv6 Day.
To check if your devices are ready for World IPv6 Day, visit http://test-ipv6.com/ before June 8, and for troubleshooting info, visit the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). Be sure to check with your devices’ manufacturers about upgrading operating systems, browsers, and router software to ensure you are ready to test out IPv6.
What’s keeping you from taking the plunge? Let us know in the comments section or send me an email at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.]]>