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Why change the Internet protocol? The case for IPv6

By khym in MLP
Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 01:49:42 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

So what's the point of the next generation Internet protocol, IPv6 (a.k.a ipng)? Isn't it just to get more Internet addresses? The answer is a big "no" says The Case For IPv6, a very informative piece about IPv6. It starts with a business case for IPv6, which doesn't require too much technical knowhow to understand; is followed by a technical case for IPv6, with lots of interesting facts for the techie (plus a list of all the RFCs related to IPv6); and concludes with a section of myths about IPv6.

A summary of some of the things that IPv6 will bring:

  1. More efficient routing of Internet traffic.
  2. Better support for mobile computers.
  3. Better and easier automatic configuration of networks.
  4. Protection against the spoofing of Internet addresses, to make it harder for crackers to break into systems.
  5. Encryption support at the network layer, so that any network application can use encryption easily, and making it easier to create Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).


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Why change the Internet protocol? The case for IPv6 | 4 comments (3 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Usually put into the too hard basket. (3.85 / 7) (#2)
by seeS on Mon Feb 19, 2001 at 11:12:07 PM EST

It's no coincidence that one of the authors of that linked document is from Nokia (Charlie, who seems to be a real nice guy IRL). When the IETF had their meeting down in Adelaide last year, everyone thought that IPv6 was a good idea in principle, but would be in the near future too hard to implement.

Quite amusingly, it seemed to be the general consensus that considering the mobile phone networks wanted a lot of new addresses and they came second then they can go and work it out and do IPv6 first.

In a way that makes sense, as all mobile phone networks are a walled garden layout more or less, which would make a ipv6 to ipv4 gateway much easier to build; you have to have a gateway for WAP anyway.

I really hope IPv6 gets up. I currently run it on some of my systems mainly to get network engineering and programming experience in the protocol. But only ever heard it mentioned once by a customer.

My conspiracy theory is that the large ISP don't run it because they are the oldest. The oldest have the bigger IPv4 address blocks as allocations were a lot freer years ago. This means they can be a little more flexible in allocating blocks to their customers than their newer IPv4-block-deprived competitors, which gives them a competitve advantage. If these big old ISPs had to stuggle for address like most newcomers do, then IPv6 would be here now.
Where's a policeman when you need one to blame the World Wide Web?

Don't forget the number one benefit... (4.00 / 1) (#3)
by babylago on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 12:25:52 AM EST

Too many people know IP. IPv6 will put the technology back in the hands of the network elite, where it belongs. IP is too easy (except for subnetting - hand me a calculator, please!). As long as we can keep Cisco from offering an CCIE IPv6, we should be able to get all the consulting days!

Kidding aside, my poorly expressed point is that IPv6 doesn't have a huge installed base of experts (unlike IPv4), so there is an additional cost of training and building the skill set necessary to design, construct, implement, and maintain IPv6 networks, particularly during the transition period. Although IPv6 does have excellent possibilities, the document does point out that transition strategies will likely include a great deal of legacy management, perhaps even an indefinite period of backward compatibility. It's going to be a slow, costly process for most large-scale networks.

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the problem with IP6 (none / 0) (#4)
by pustulate on Tue Feb 20, 2001 at 03:46:52 PM EST

is that IP4 works! And one truism in the computing field is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". ip4 may have its problems, but people warning about ip4's limitations have the same cachet as the people warning we'd run out of oil by 1965. I remember back in the early 90's that we'd run out of IP address space by two years ago, that routers would collapse under the routing table loads, that DNS would collapse because it's a totally whacked system. Well, it's 2001, and as far as anyone can tell the ip4 infrastructure still works. This poses a problem because of the migration costs associated with ip6. Why incur the costs now? Advocates may see this as shortsighted, but hey - what if you move a network to ip6, and you completely lose connectivity? Plus, you find out that all the diagnostic tools you rely on don't work. Oy! IP6's migration will probably go the way of ip4's migration: slowly. Way back before 1994 (heh) not every box was networked up to an ip4 network; only boxes that needed to be on the net were on the net. Likely that'll be the case with ip6.

Why change the Internet protocol? The case for IPv6 | 4 comments (3 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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