IPv6: It's An Infrastructure Thing

In the years of trying to convince network operators and executives of the urgency behind getting started on an IPv6 implementation plan, those resistant to the idea usually give me one or more of the following:

·      There are no “killer applications” for IPv6. There’s just nothing out there that will get users – whether individuals or enterprises – excited enough to start demanding IPv6.

·      There’s no business driver for IPv6. There’s nothing beneficial enough to justify the cost and hours required to deploy it.

·      There’s a chicken-or-egg problem. Developers don’t want to create applications for IPv6 because there are so few IPv6 networks, and there are so few IPv6 networks because there are not many applications that use it.

I’m sure you’ve heard them all too.

These responses are really saying the same thing: We won’t implement IPv6 in our network until we can find a way to make it profitable.

These folks are looking at IPv6 as an application issue. Ask them if they wait to upgrade routers, switches, software, or servers until they can find a way to make the newer systems profitable, and they’ll tell you no. Ask them if they increase their bandwidth only when they have customers waiting to use it, and they’ll tell you no.

Because all of those things are infrastructure components. Network operators understand the need to proactively invest in their infrastructure to remain competitive, and to insure that they can accommodate new growth and new demands on their network.

If they wait until there are identifiable customers before they upgrade, it’s too late. Those customers are not going to wait around while new capacity is added; they’re going to go shopping somewhere else.

That’s the perspective that needs to be taken with IPv6, too. It’s an infrastructure issue, not an application issue. The statistics are there for anyone to see, as I’ve written about in numerous earlier posts: The only public IP addresses you’re going to be able to get starting about two and a half years from right now are IPv6 addresses.

If your network growth depends on being able to get new IP addresses, you need to be planning for IPv6 now. Potential new customers are not going to wait around while you are implementing the protocol in panic mode; they’re going to take their business to someone who has planned ahead and made sure their infrastructure is ready.

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