Here's my takeaway:
- The next IPv6 milestone is likely to be the U.S. federal government mandate that all of its agencies upgrade their public-facing websites and services to support IPv6 by Sept. 30, 2012. We'll then see the progression of regional registries deplete their supply of IPv4 addresses. The Asian registry is already out; Europe is expected to go next, forecast this year; and North America will follow in 2013. (See Global IPv4 Counter Hits Zero.)
- Mobile operators are expected to announce their plans, now that Verizon Wireless has taken the leap. "All it takes is one leader to step forward," Mark Townsley, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) Fellow comments. "We were just waiting for that one mobile provider to make that step -- and they did. Verizon Wireless did just before World IPv6 Launch. Now we'll see more and more mobile providers make that step." (See Why Mobile Operators Don't Talk IPv6) and Outlook Mixed on Mobile IPv6.)
- Expect the focus to shift to innovation enabled by IPv6. "We've spent many years designing new roads. Now it's time to put some new cars on those roads -- maybe something a little Jetson-esque," says John Brzozowski, chief architect for IPv6 at Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK). Vint Cerf, Internet evangelist at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), expects much of that innovation to come within the home and points to his personal in-home wireless monitoring network, designed by Arch Rock before it was acquired by Cisco, and running completely on IPv6. (See Cerf describe it in this video.) (See Cisco Steals Smart Grid Show.)
- Consumer electronics manufacturers will be pressed to incorporate IPv6 natively in their devices. Brzozowski and Lee Howard, director of network technology, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), both cited the need for in-home devices to support IPv6 out of the box, without action by the consumer, and said their companies will work to make that happen.
- Smaller content players will be pushed to offer IPv6 support. The largest content players -- YouTube, Netflix, Google, Yahoo! and Facebook -- are already on board, but smaller companies should now see that any fears about going to IPv6 aren't warranted, says ISOC Internet CTO Leslie Daigle. Cerf thinks they can be shamed into moving. "There are no longer any excuses," he says forcefully, at almost every chance.
- Network operators have to continue their own rollouts. Even rapid movers such as Comcast and Time Warner still have significant work remaining to completely enable their networks and all of their endpoints, Howard says. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is almost moving fast, using what Brooks Fitzsimmons, assistant VP-IPv6 transition, acknowledged is an interim strategy -- using 6rd versus dual stacking -- but will deploy dual-stacking in the next generation of its IP network. (See Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6.)
So you haven't heard the last of the IPv6 news by a long shot. Let's hope it gets more interesting as we move forward.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading