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Sep 7 2010   3:01PM GMT

Here comes IPv6?

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

I just got the green light from the publisher of my college textbook on TCP/IP (Guide to TCP/IP, 3e, by Laura Chappell and Ed Tittel, Course Technology, ISBN: 1418837555) for a new fourth edition to get underway starting next month. Given the final and unavoidable occurrence of “IPv4 address exhaustion” now predicted for some time later this year or perhaps next year (see the IPv4 Address Report page for a regularly updated tally and “X-day” projection, or download this Sidebar Gadget to put the counter on your own desktop), this next edition of the book is going to increase its coverage of IPv6 while retaining information about IPv4.

My belief is that even if IPv4 addresses run out, IPv4 networks aren’t going away. That means methods to interlink the two different versions of IP will become more important, as will construction of all-IPv6 new networks for experienced and tyro networkers alike. I’m looking for input from the reader community about which aspects of IPv6 and IPv4-IPv6 interoperabity are most important to them, and which issues they’ve found most challenging or difficult to solve in achieving reliable operations.

For my own part, I’ve learned some very interesting things about SOHO networking gear as I’ve started to research this topics:

1. The vast majority of SOHO routers (especially Ubicom-based switch/router/firewall/Internet boundary devices) — that is, those with interfaces for cable modem or DSL Internet link-ups — offer no or only very little IPv6 support. For example, my D-Link DIR-655 does not support IPv6 directly (you need a D-Link DIR-825 or better to get the support for IPv6-to-IPv4 tunneling that’s usually deployed to link a small IPv6 network to IPv4 Internet access from an ISP).

2. The vast majority of ISPs in North America still don’t offer native IPv6 support to their customers (I can’t even find a clearinghouse for information on ISPs in US, Canada, or Mexico that offer IPv6 support to customers; my own provider, RoadRunner under the Time Warner umbrella, tells me that they’re planning to deploy native IPv6 support “some time in 2011” but can’t be any more specific than that right now)

3. There are lots of good how-tos available on setting up and using IPv6 on private LANs, including these relative gems:

4. IPv6 Guru and CCIE Scott Hogg offers up some interesting ruminations on Windows 7 and IPv6 in his Network World blog “Windows 7 IPv6 Support” (1/29/2009, so it may be a bit outdated, but is still pretty interesting).  Joseph Davies (Microsoft’s “The Cable Guy”) has a July 2009 piece that covers the same ground entitled “Support for IPv6 in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.”

If others know of good resources in this general arena, please post in a comment on this blog. Do also please let me know if you’re running IPv6 on part or all of your networks: the bigger the deployment, the better!



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