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Making the most out of IPv6 deployment

16 Nov 2018

Article by APNIC writer Robbie Mitchell

The current status of IP addressing

At the start of this year, Google measured IPv6 adoption at reaching the 10% deployment mark.

IPv6 is the latest version of the Internet Protocol, which identifies devices across the internet so they can be located. 

Services like Google and Facebook are currently available via IPv6, and several large internet service providers (ISPs), telecommunications and web service providers are actively migrating.

Mobile operators have pushed for wider IPv6 implementation to futureproof continued growth, and Apple has mandated that apps submitted to their app store must be IPv6 compatible.

This should give sysadmins confidence that key vendors and key networks are making moves to IPv6.

Best practices in IPv6 deployment

Just as IPv4 network operations have evolved to their current states by identifying and implementing various best current practices, IPv6 network operations are also evolving.

Various groups of network operators are constantly finding better ways to manage IPv6 deployment through their operational experiences, and from the shared experiences of others.

Using IP address space wisely

An IPv6 address is 128-bits long—four times longer than the 32-bit IPv4 addresses.

Address planning for such a large space might seem counter-intuitive for many network operators.

However, establishing a practical and scalable plan for deploying IPv6 addressing on an operational network is an important first step.

Technologies can help you transition

While the field of IPv6 transition technology is still evolving, operators need to carefully consider which mechanism is most suitable to their networks.

Native IPv6 is preferred, but many operators will need to deploy in steps, by using one or more transition mechanisms, to align with long-term network planning.

Content, data centre, hosting, cloud service, and application service providers need to focus on how to enable IPv6 access to their content, and the implications of IPv6 deployment for their Internet connectivity, web servers, load balancers, and firewalls.

It's also necessary to consider other modifications as required including backbone databases, setting an IPv6 log file, and geolocation databases.

Network operators working for enterprises need to focus on their IT infrastructure, in terms of enabling IPv6 in their WiFi, Ethernet, LAN, and WAN.

They also need to enable Dual Stack for devices such as laptops, printers, PCs, and file servers.

Another aspect to consider is how to replicate IPv6 addressing infrastructure with IPv6 address management, firewalls, and security.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) provides helpful guidelines, which are continually updated, for both these groups, as does the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN).

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