IP protocols/software

IPv6 Global Event Gets Real

5:20 PM -- Last year was a big one for IPv6 -- it opened with the news that the long-predicted depletion of IPv4 addresses was finally at hand, and continued with IPv6 World Day, when Internet giants turned on IPv6 for one day to test the current state of affairs and draw attention to future needs. (See Light Reading's IPv6 Cover Sheet.)

But 2012 needs to be an even bigger year for IPv6, thus the Internet Society (ISOC) is forgoing the idea of another "World Day" of trial and testing for a date when IPv6 will be deployed by major players, including the same Internet giants -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Facebook -- and some major carriers as well, such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK).

This year's goal is very different, says ISOC Chief Internet Technology Officer Leslie Daigle. Instead of showing that IPv6 can work, ISOC wants to show that there is a credible base of deployments and to begin encouraging both content providers and ISPs to turn up IPv6-based content and networks, respectively. Without that credible base, Daigle says, each side points to the other and says, basically, "You go first."

No one doubts that the future is IPv6, but you can't underestimate how long companies will put off an investment in the future -- typically as long as they think they can.

One industry segment that seemed to sit out the IPv6 party in 2011 was the wireless community. Wireless operators were very quiet about their plans, despite the fact the explosion of wireless devices, wireless apps and M2M is a major driver of the need for all those new IPv6 addresses. (See Why Mobile Operators Don't Talk IPv6 and NTT's Doug Junkins: IPv6 & Mobile Apps.)

Daigle sees 2012 as a year when wireless operators and their hardware vendors can agree on the best approaches to IPv6 deployment -- at which point, we should expect to see some movement there.

There is still no "one size fits all" solution to v6 and the transition strategies of operators will still diverge on issues such as the extent to which large-scale network-address translation is needed and for how long. We'll be talking about all of that later this July, when our second IPv6 event -- IPv6: The Rubber Meets the Road -- takes place in New York City.

But as ISOC is signaling with its announcement on Tuesday, 2012 is the time when doing something replaces talking, testing and trialing when it comes to IPv6.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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