IPV4 to IPV6 - Transition and Benefits

Oteri Omae


IPv6 is the next generation protocol for the Internet, designed to support continued Internet growth in number of users and functionality. The current version, IPv4, was developed in the 1970’s and provides the basis for today’s Internet interoperability. IPv4 suffers some limitations that may be inhibitors to growth of the Internet, and use of the Internet as a global networking solution. Requirements for more address space, simpler address design and handling at the IP layer, better quality of service support, greater security, and an increasing number of media types and internet-capable devices have all contributed to drive the development of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). IPv6 is a new version of IP which is designed to be an evolutionary step from IPv4. It is a natural increment to IPv4. It can be installed as a normal software upgrade in internet devices and is interoperable with the current IPv4. Its deployment strategy is designed to not have any flag days or other dependencies. IPv6 is designed to run well on high performance networks (e.g. Gigabit Ethernet, OC-12, ATM, etc.) and at the same time still be efficient for low bandwidth networks (e.g. wireless). In addition, it provides a platform for new internet functionality that will be required in the near future. IPv6 is designed to solve many of the problems of the current version of IP (known as IPv4) such as address depletion, security, auto-configuration, research and extensibility. Its use will also expand the capabilities of the Internet and enable a variety of valuable and exciting scenarios, including peer-to-peer and mobile applications. IPv6 includes a transition mechanism which is designed to allow users to adopt and deploy IPv6 in a highly diffuse fashion and to provide direct interoperability between IPv4 and IPv6 hosts. The transition to a new version of the Internet Protocol must be incremental, with few or no critical interdependencies, if it is to succeed. The IPv6 transition allows the users to upgrade their hosts to IPv6, and the network operators to deploy IPv6 in routers, with very little coordination between the two.  This paper seeks to enlighten Kenyan companies and institutions on the reasons why they should move from IPv4 to IPv6 and inform them of what methods are available to enable the transition without affecting their networks. This is because all companies all over the world are encouraged to do so since IPv4 addresses are expected to be exhausted by august 2011. This means that they shall be forced to move to IPv6 at one given point but the earlier the better. It is also in response to IPv6 world day on 8 June, 2011, where Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks will be amongst some of the major organizations that will offer their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour "test flight". The goal of the Test Flight Day is to motivate organizations across the industry; Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out. “Please join us for this test drive and help accelerate the momentum of IPv6 deployment” Quote from internet society.


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