More on IPv6 – Skepticism abounds

In the last newsletter we reported on a lively discussion at the Webtorials Water Cooler on the business case for IPv6. And the consensus, as noted, is that while there probably is an eventual need for IPv6, it's pretty low on the priority list for most enterprises at this point.

One of the 50 greatest arguments in networking: IPv4 vs. IPv6

Two of the members of the Webtorials Analysts' Forum added particularly useful comments to help frame the discussion. Our colleague Gary Audin noted, "As I look at IPv6, I see many worthwhile features and functions. There are 40 documents for the IPv6 standard. Moving to IPv6 is off in the future if all of IPv6 is implemented for an organization. It is a policy decision because of all the device and software changes required and the associated expenses. I think IPv6 will be implemented in phases. The business benefits will only occur when multiple organizations adopt a common set of IPv6 standards. I also think the public Internet will be very slow to move to IPv6. So I expect that networks like MPLS will provide inter-organization IPv6 well before the Internet catches up."

Similar sentiments were added by Michael Finneran as he added, "The reason enterprises haven't jumped on IPv6 seems to be they seem to feel that they don't have to and whatever changes required will be taken care of by the ISPs either through dual-stack routers, format conversions, DNS modifications or something else. In any event, they won't really have to DO anything for the foreseeable (which is comforting).

"In the end that may turn out to be a fantasy and we find there is a real performance impact experienced by V4 users as the core moves more and more to V6. At that point there will be a business case, and possibly it will create a major headache as we have to wrestle with redesigning our internal IP address structures, subnets, and all the rest.

"Until users see some real impetus to undertake a major redesign, they will keep their faith that technology (implemented by someone else) that will save their bacon."

Many thanks to these and other contributors. Meanwhile, please feel free to join in this online "virtual focus group."

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