Nibbles & Bits

IPv6 Migration: What it Really Means

by | May 19, 2017

IPv6 Migration: What it really means

Last Updated: January 15, 2021

It’s not a replacement, it’s a path forward

When we think about IP address “migration” the phrasing is actually a little deceptive. The thing about IPv6 migration is that you’re not necessarily abandoning IPv4, you’re creating a go-forward strategy for your future IP needs. It’s not a replacement, it’s a path forward.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the entity responsible for handing out IP addresses for the Internet. IANA has announced that available IPv4 addresses, the ones we are most familiar with today with four groups of numbers, has come to an end (phew). Within IANA, there are five regions around the world (known as RIRs), each providing IP addresses for devices within that region. IANA distributed the last blocks/groups of IPv4 addresses, one block of /8 addresses, to each region on Feb 3, 2011. This now means that IANA has effectively run out of addresses, and once each region is out, there are no more.

APINC (Asia Pacific region) has already exhausted the new block, and have since allocated measures to make them last as long as possible. It is expected that RIPE (Europe region) will be next, with all others soon to follow. Even if addresses are still available, many regions are choosing to hold onto them rather than allocate them in preparation for IPv6 transition.

IANA  RIR

IPv6 is the solution to the IP address problem, which cannot be disputed. It is not a new standard, but one that has been largely ignored in recent years due to still having so many IPv4 addresses left. That time is now over. To continue to ignore IPv6 could cause any number of potential problems including the inability to migrate to IPv6 when there is no longer a choice, complete loss of connectivity with the Internet, and no longer being competitive with other organizations whose systems are primed for IPv6 and ready to move to the next generation of Internet addressing and use.

Meet the Dual Stack

Luckily, IPv4 and IPv6 can coexist within a network, and this is very good since the changeover will take years. This means that organizations will have to support both in at least the interim in order to continue complete Internet operations. This technique of supporting both IP versions at the same time is known as dual-stacking. It was developed due to the limitations of the IP versions, particularly with each other. IPv4 and v6 are separate protocols, and cannot speak to each other directly. Thus support for both must be maintained in order to utilize them at the same time during the migration process.

Moving too quickly or only supporting one or the other is almost guaranteed to lose some connectivity or communication until a total world changeover is completed. To assist organizations with this changeover, IP Address Management (IPAM) solutions will be required. These are programs or packaged solutions that find IP addresses on networks, and help administrators with management tasks such as what is in use, available, and how to consolidate. A solution, in this case, is required due to the very large amount of addresses in IPv6 whereas a spreadsheet or other manual process will not be large or fast enough.

How we help

6connect is a pioneer and industry leader in network automation, network planning, and IPv6 management. We help companies large and small to build robust network infrastructures, allowing them to scale confidently. Speak with one of our engineers today to find out how we can help you take your network to the next level.

“We decided to move our rather complex IP address and DHCP management process to ProVision and it has worked out great for us!! The team at 6connect were very flexible and went above and beyond to accommodate our requirements and helped to make the migration as smooth and hitch free as possible. Kudos to the team @ 6connect!”

Premkumar Subramaniam
Head of R&D
viewquest

“We are excited to be partnering with 6connect to leverage their technology and talent. We particularly admire their long-standing IPv6 contributions and their ability to service and support customers in this area, some who are the largest service provider in the world. The 6connect executive leadership team and technical team are great to work with and we look forward to many partnered projects to help customers address their Cloud, IoT and Security needs with IPv6. Automation, workflow and orchestration are critical to the success of most of these projects and 6connect is well positioned to help our mutual customers in those areas.”

Ed Horley
Co-Founder & CEO
HexaBulid

“Enterprises can struggle managing purposefully segmented DDI architectures with any agility. Our partnership with 6connect empowers customers with complex infrastructures to move faster to service the business while consolidating visibility and control over their estate.”

Andrew Wertkin
Chief Strategy Officer,
BlueCat

“6connect’s approach to automation addresses quite a few challenges with physical and virtual networks – how to improve the agility of your current network infrastructure without sacrificing reliability and adoption of future network technologies.”

Pär Lange
Investment Director
SwissCom

“A customer is looking for an integrated solution from a single vendor for both IPAM and DNS. Through the 6connect reseller program, Secure64 is able to offer the most secure DNS solutions married to a unique combination of IPAM and resource provisioning that customers want. It’s a marriage made in heaven.”

Mark Beckett
VP of Marketing
Secure64

“A huge benefit of working with the 6connect team is that they devoted a lot of resources to get our products integrated so we had the turnkey solution that we could take to market. It was very easy to work with their team to get product integrated and successfully launched.”

Mark Beckett
VP of Marketing
Secure64

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