Thursday, 9 June 2011

Most India organizations not IPv6 ready

BANGALORE: IPv6 Day did not lead to an internet crash or any other misfortune that some had predicted. At least not till late on Wednesday when this was written. But the test of the new internet protocol (IP) version, which will enormously expand the number of internet addresses that can be made available, did show that very few organizations have moved to the new system. Some even worry that in India, telecom service providers will soon have no more addresses to provide to those who wish to use the internet.

Web performance management company Akamai Technologies' data showed the IPv6 traffic of about 250 hits per second on an average. The internet traffic on a regular day, over the existing IPv4 network, is 10 million hits per second. "The good news is that IPv6 works. But very little of infrastructure has been created for the new version. And it shows we need to do a lot of work as an industry ," Harald Prokop, senior V-P of engineering at Akamai said.

IPv4 has about 4.3 billion addresses . Almost all of these have been exhausted . APNIC ( Asia Pacific Network Information Centre), which oversees the Asia-Pacific region, has announced that it has almost finished its allocation of IPv4 address and has placed the remaining under limited distribution. IPv6 offers 340 undecillion (that's 340 followed by 36 zeroes) addresses. And it should last many many years, even if lots of everyday products (your washing machine , refrigerator, etc) begin to talk to each other and to us over the internet , as expected. But the trouble for now is, the IPv4 and IPv6 networks are incompatible. If you have an IPv6 enabled device, it cannot access most of the current content because all of those are written for IPv4. Some like Facebook, Google and Yahoo have made their sites IPv6 compliant. But the vast majority has not. Only 5,375 of the top 1 million web sites by popularity have IPv6 connections, according to one estimate.

Given this, IPv4 will remain the dominant protocol for some more time. But then the question is, what happens to those who need a new internet connection if the address registries have run out of addresses? Prokop says some will try to use their IPv4 spaces more efficiently. "I have also heard that companies are buying addresses from those that are not using them." 

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