Just as air, water, shelter and food are necessities for human survival, so are the needs to build relationships and reach the global community through many methods of communication in order to make our lives more meaningful. Although I can probably pontificate on this subject endlessly, I’d like to at least address the next level of maturation for IP technology since the days of ARPANET.

According to ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers), we have less than 7% of Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) address space left – just a little over a year’s worth left. Unlike other countries, the U.S. is taking a market-based approach in deploying Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) as opposed to rolling out a regulatory mandate to smoothly transition towards IPv6 for public interest. Needless to say, with the looming IPv4 exhaustion, the U.S. market should be abuzz with greater demand for IPv6 addresses and services from vendors who can support the transition but widespread adoption in the United States has yet to avail.

For years now, IPv6 has been a solution that’s been “sitting on the sidelines” waiting to be deployed for numerous perceived problems of the IPv4 networked world. Some benefits include:

  • Address space that is vastly increased from 4 billion addresses in IPv4 to over 340 undecillion addresses in IPv6. That’s 4,000,000,000 versus 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!
  • IPv6’s enhanced security comes in the form of IPSec, which allows for authentication, encryption, and compression. And unlike the prevalent version, IPv6 possesses capabilities for packet integrity that IPv4 cannot offer.
  • Greater functionality like on-demand auto-configuration of detected devices within the network and the elimination of network address translation (NAT). IPv6 is also not restricted to a location, so for mobile devices that use IP, those devices will be able to roam among different networks without losing their established IP addresses. And for those who consume or are in the business of content delivery of rich media, IPv6 allows for multicast technologies to optimize media-streaming applications.

Considering that United States pioneered the IPv4 infrastructure and has a huge percentage of the worldwide allocation of address space, it’s no wonder the masses aren’t banging down the doors to scoop up IPv6 like the latest hot toys during Black Friday.

Even though many services providers, like us, have been planning the implementation for IPv6 for our customers, we can’t stress how important it is to plan for this major milestone in technology and telecommunications for the following reasons:

  • We’re running out of IPv4 address space fast and IPv6 must be adopted for continued Internet growth.
  • IPv6 is NOT backwards compatible with IPv4, so both protocol versions of infrastructure must be maintained simultaneously for many years.

As a high-level, forward-looking guess, I will not be surprised if 2011 ushers in a tremendous bull market for companies that service or provide goods regarding IPv6 due to the up-swell of companies that aren’t quire ready for the transition.