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Address IPv6 now to head off network slowdowns

Address IPv6 now to head off network slowdowns

Internode CIO, Frank Falco, warns of dangers of inaction

Internode CIO, Frank Falco

Internode CIO, Frank Falco

Internode’s CIO, Frank Falco, has warned that fellow IT leaders must begin taking action to counteract the effects of the imminent exhaustion of IPv4 addresses or face potential slowdowns in network performance and investment in IPv6 incompatible hardware.

Falco has spent much of the last year educating organisations on IPv6, partly through Internode’s public IPv6 trials, about potential impacts on internal systems and future buying decisions.

“Most people buy equipment and keep it in their network for three or five years at least, but in three to five years from now this issue is going to be quite serious, and in fact is starting to become quite serious now,” he said. “Some people’s position is that it is already too late to begin the transition and that we will have to grin and bare it. Whether that is true or not depends on your point of view and business situation.

“For some businesses, ISPs will take care of it, but for companies with lots of IP addresses and devices, they really need to start looking at this.”

Depending on the ISP an organisation is with, the cost of IPv4 addresses may noticeably increase as the number of available address diminishes, he said.

“What [Internode] will do is become a lot more careful about who we give addresses to as supply is diminishing very quickly. In the longer run it could get to the point [where prices increase]… this is something people need to begin planning for,” he says.

“It’s not like Y2K where there was a definite drop dead date… but the process of an audit is similar to that — you need to look at how you are managing your network, your address space, your software, and in some cases Web servers and Web applications.”

At its most basic level, CIOs need to ask whether new devices — be they firewalls, routers, or load balancers — are already IPv6 compatible or can be made so with relatively simple upgrades. “It’s not like we’re going to run out of IPv4 addresses straight away and you can no longer use NAT [network address translation], but as the number of address spaces diminishes, there will be more and more layers of network address translation, and that means the ability to maintain your network, its security, and its quality degrades,” he said. “The sooner you look at it this, start preparing for it and begin changing over, the less complicated it is going to be.”

Read Five steps in the move to IPv6.

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