NickLeBon wrote:> * * *
Trust me when I say IPv6 is coming a whole lot faster than most people realize. If you wish to live in land of make believe where IPv6 internal networks are 10 years away feel free. You are clearly an end user, layer one IT or end developer and have little to nothing to with planning. Expect to see big things starting q4-ish 2011 for IPv6 in every market space home-enterprise.
Okay, I’ll play along. To clear up any misconceptions in advance as to where my perspective is coming from on all of this, I am an Information Security consultant with a strong background in network engineering and architecture.
Yes, IPv6 is coming. As prevously stated, its first uses are going to be to relieve exhaustion of the IPv4 address space on the WAN (i.e., Internet; emphasis intentional). For most organisations - including home users - IPv4 isn’t going away any time soon. This is down to the fact that most internal networks (i.e., LAN s) have their IPv4 addresses allocated out of reserved blocks of addresses laid down in RFC 1918 specifcally for LAN-only use.
These blocks of IPv4 addresses cannot be routed on the Internet, full-stop. Because they are reusable by anyone who wants to run an IP-based LAN, they are not in danger of running out any time soon; completely unrelated networks can use the same address spaces in blissful ignorance of each other.
Further to this: it’s entirely possible to route IPv6 traffic over an existing IPv4 network via encapsulation. Without going into the technical whys and hows of this, suffice it to say that what this means is that you can have an IPv6 network on the WAN, but the computers on the IPv4 LAN will still be able to send IPv6 traffic out to the WAN.
As an addendum to the above, IPv4 addresses are treated as a subset of IPv6 addresses. So if you’re sending IPv4 traffic out to an IPv6 WAN, it will still go where it needs to go.
With all of that in mind, there’s not a lot of need for IPv6 support in devices like this - yet. Yes, the day is coming when it will become necessary. But the good news is that as most devices of the sort we’re concerned with are typically Linux-based these days and IPv6 is far from an unknown quantity under Linux, adding the capability is a simple matter of rebuilding the kernel with IPv6 support and pushing that change out as part of a firmware upgrade, so the potential for forwards-compatibility is already there.
Now for the corollary to that: if your router can’t route IPv6 out to the Internet (and back in again), it’s all a moot point. You’d have to either wait for your router to support it, buy one that does, or send out all your IPv6 traffic via IPv4 encapsulation.
I really hope this helps to assuage some of the concern over the (eventual) transisiton to IPv6. By no means am I saying that it will never be necessary, but by the time we reach the point where it is we’ll probably have all upgraded to newer, better devices by then anyway which support it out of necessity.