Yesterday I listened to Geoff Houston‘s talk at the IPv6 plenary in the 44th ICANN meeting in Prague. I listened remotely from my office, but still had to give Geoff a standing applause. This blog entry is inspired by that talk. I can’t find a video of it, but the presentation in itself is available for download. The presentation was very clear, not very technical and very much to the point. If you want the Internet to become a dead end like Prestel and Videotex, continue on IPv4. If you want the Internet as we know it to survive, there’s no other option than to go for IPv6. Period.
If you listen to Geoff Houstons talk below (from another meeting, but very good too) you’ll understand that the option to IPv6 is degradation of the Internet as we know it. With all the new devices, service providers, things and people that are going to connect to the Internet, the address space simply can’t handle it. The available IPv4 address space for new users and companies has run out in many regions and will soon run out in the rest of the world. The only way to continue to build a global network with a free selection of services is to quickly migrate to IPv6.
The dream of a long transition period
When IPv6 was created, there was a dream of a long transition period. This was during the end of the 90’s. It’s now 2012 and at least one registry has run out of IPv4. For the Internet, we have no long transition period with the growth rate we currently see. There will be large IPv6-only island sooner than we all expected. And we will have to focus on IPv6 as the main protocol and IPv4 reachability as legacy access.
The core is ready, the clients are ready – the missing piece is between them
The Internet core system has been handling IPv6 for a long time. All the major desktop, server and device operating systems has IPv6 support. Of course, there’s a group of devices that hasn’t been upgraded for a long time, but still is used – printer servers, fax gateways (talk about old stuff) and funny rabbits connecting to the Internet. These will have to use gateways, like they do today, if they want to reach the IPv6 Internet. Broadband routers will solve this issue. The problem now is the local broadband and Internet providers and the last mile access network. This is where we need an IPv6 update. As Geoff says in his talk, they have no business reasons to make that investment today. The only one that can put that pressure on them is YOU.
I won’t keep you busy reading any more. Sit down, grab a bowl of popcorn and listen to Geoff Houston of APNIC for half an hour and you will get many good arguments for IPv6. See you next week!