Implementation of IPv6 at WIT

Pat Cluney - WIT

IPV6 is something that most IT professionals will have heard about and they may have done nothing with it, they may have explored or tested it out in some fashion, or they may even have completed a full implementation and have moved onto the next project. Whichever part of the continuum an organisations is at, it is something that everyone should have some kind of interest in; be it still questioning why to take it on IPv4 is working fine for us, whats in it for me? to fine tuning and reaping the benefits of turning it on. To address the issues and discuss possible ways to approach extending the supported network infrastructure to include the IPv6 protocol, this talk will share and explore the experience of WIT in the use and practicalities of enabling it.

Since 2008 many global IT corporations have begun bringing product to market that are developed with both IPv4 and IPv6 network stack functionality , on the understanding that this is the way of the future for reasons of physical address space limitations and addressing security issues. For this reason many services are now installed with IPv6 enabled natively and unless a conscious decision and effort is made to disable it many organisations may already be running services on IPv6 now and not be aware of it.

A native IPv6 deployment will change the landscape and allow the IT organisation to properly grow and scale the network and services that the network offers. Yet a straightforward switchover can't happen because IPv4 and IPv6 aren't compatible protocols. Dual network stacks that support both protocols will be necessary for the foreseeable future.

The most obvious problem that IPv6 solves is it provides a larger IP address space than IPv4, other advantages of using IPv6 also need to be explored. However, no one gets the full benefit of IPv6 deployment until everyone supports it. Countries have already begun to run out of IPv4 allocated address space and the day is approaching when it will become a matter of when and how do we switch over to it rather than why do we move to it.

Many of the truly global IT organisations are already running dual-stack networks and websites and the time is approaching when if you do not support IPv6 on your network that you will not be able to reach certain websites or services. To move to supporting dual stack networks now will mean that you build up experience and knowledge of the protocol before it becomes absolutely critical for IT survival. How to map your current IPV4 network onto an IPV6 stack and the complexities of managing a 128-bit long address field compared to a 32-bit version 4 one will be demonstrated along with sharing some of the tools required to complete the project.

It does work: why not use it now?