World IPv6 Day Looks To Educate About Transition From IPv4

With the transition to IPv6 becoming a more important issue, the Internet Society is hoping to broaden and accelerate the transition with today’s World IPv6 Day.

Starting Tuesday afternoon and continuing for 24 hours, some of the well- known organizations like Yahoo!, Google and Facebook are offering the websites over IPv6 -- the next generation of Internet protocol.

And if everything goes like expected, you shouldn’t notice a thing. Only 0.05 percent of users are expected to have any type of issue. But, it will be a valuable learning experience for website and network operators to make sure equipment is ready for the transition.

As far as the security industry specifically, I learned in an education at ISC West in April that the transition will affect the way IP-enabled security products communicate, but there is no real need to worry.

"There is no real need to panic about the transition," said Vincent Ricco from Allied Telesis. "We've known for quite a while that that IPv4 addresses were going to be depleted. 2011 has been the estimated date of that to happen, even though it happened a little earlier than most thought."

In February, a ceremony marked the final pool of IPv4 addresses being allocated. The IPv4 protocol was established in 1974 and assigns 32-bit numeric addresses while IPv6, established in 1991, uses a combination of 128-bit addresses with numbers and hex characters.

While there are approximately 4 billion IPv4 addresses, the supply of IPv6 addresses is almost endless.

And the change will offer some benefits for the security industry.

"As an example, right now, with a camera protected by an enclosure, there is a way for someone to gain unauthorized access to your network," James Marcella with Axis Communications said. "All they have to do is get past the enclosure and that cable attached to the camera is a way in to your network. With IPv4, there are some ways to protect from this using 802.1x, but many don't do it. IPv6 allows secure connections that eliminate that problem."

Ricco said users should think of the change more as a migration and that with proper planning will allow the co-existence of the IPv4 and IPv6 for quite some time.

Some planning steps include deciding on whether selecting IPv6-ready hardware, not deleting IPv4 when making the move to IPv6 and choosing IP versions when selecting an application.

"Overall applications you are using on a day-to-day basis will not change and still work fine after than changeover to IPv6," Marcella said. "The issue is if one IPv4 network is trying to communicate to another, totally different IPv6 network, like what could happen in a merger or acquisition."

Ricco said users should think of the change more as a migration and that with proper planning will allow the co-existence of the IPv4 and IPv6 for quite some time.

Some planning steps include deciding on whether selecting IPv6-ready hardware, not deleting IPv4 when making the move to IPv6 and choosing IP versions when selecting an application.

"Overall applications you are using on a day-to-day basis will not change and still work fine after than changeover to IPv6," Marcella said. "The issue is if one IPv4 network is trying to communicate to another, totally different IPv6 network, like what could happen in a merger or acquisition."

Both Marcella and Ricco said users should be ready for the change, but large numbers of IPv6 networks have yet to sprout up. Government is likely to be the first widespread adopter.

"Globally, we don't know of one implementation of IPv6 with our products, even though Axis has supported it since the early 2000s," Marcella said.

 

Posted on Jun 07, 2011


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