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Why businesses should migrate to IPv6: James Wong

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IPv6 has become critical for businesses as it helps build larger, more efficient networks for growth and innovation

By James Wong

The last few years have seen a phenomenal growth in the number of Internet-enabled devices across the world. Every device that needs to connect to the Internet requires a unique IP address. With laptops, smart phones, tablets, gaming devices and almost every other electronic device becoming e-enabled, the need to create more IP addresses has increased.

In 1994, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) predicted that the number of IPv4 addresses, even at 4.3 billion, wouldn’t be sufficient to meet the services offered by Internet. IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) was created more than three decades ago and will soon run out of IP addresses and be unable to support the growth in number of e-devices.

Today, almost every business has an online presence or depends on the Internet in some way. Therefore, it has become even more critical to switch to IPv6, as it ensures continuous access to the services through the next-generation Internet addressing system. IPv6 not only resolves the problem of address shortages, but also helps build larger, more efficient networks to foster growth and innovation.

10 reasons why businesses must seriously consider migration to IPv6:
Increase in e-devices: As the number of Internet-enabled devices increases, it would be difficult to provide the required number of IP addresses with IPv4. Therefore, as organizations grow and their networks expand further, they will have no choice but to migrate to IPv6.

Innovation and growth: New Internet apps on end user devices like desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets and security devices and software like firewalls and intrusion-detection systems require IP protocol. Enhanced support for mobile IP, computing devices and machine-to-machine communications must take advantage of innovative configuration and management capabilities IPv6 delivers.

Higher security standards: IP protocol makes routing and packet processing more efficient. IPv6 has flexible encryption standards for upgraded security features that can run end-to-end encryption.
Next generation systems: IPv6 delivers superior performance, with an ability to connect with more devices and support new-generation systems that are currently IPv6-enabled.

More processing power: IP offers directed data flows, allowing packet flows to be directed to numerous endpoints and allows better VoIP communications (mobile IP capabilities are part of the IPv6 standard).

Greater extensibility, lower costs: IPv6 header field can be extended with new features by adding new headers. IPv6 header can either drop or add optional IPv4 header fields. Extensibility can greatly minimize the cost of bandwidth.

Better collaboration: New emerging applications such as video conferencing, gaming, file sharing and other peer-to-peer collaborative activities require the much better connectivity and reliability that IPv6 can provide.

Faster, uninterrupted connectivity: All devices can roam between wireless networks without breaking their connections, thus ensuring smooth delivery of information without modification from one end to another. Routers provide faster forwarding rates and better routing efficiency.

Ability to auto-configure devices: Offers automatic configuration as well as simple plug-and-play configuration capabilities for more efficient device management and utilization of resources.

Interoperability and mobility: IPv4 was relatively more restricted in its interoperability capabilities, whereas IPv6 has more enhanced features to provide for enterprise mobility.

IPv6 provides space for trillions of addresses and makes sure that businesses don’t run out of IP addresses again. IPv6 also enhances security, multimedia traffic management, and simplified network configuration. This means that IPv6 will be sufficient for a longer period of time for network growth and applications. Its adoption will allow organizations to interconnect better in a universally networked world. With its expanded capabilities and large-scale deployments, the principal motivation and justification for making the switch to IPv6 is clear.

The author is Managing Director, South Asia for A10 Networks. Views are personal.

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