We’ve been getting more and more requests lately for IPv6 addresses and dual stacking with IPv4 addresses so I wanted to make a quick post to answer some of the most popular questions.
What does an IPv6 address look like?
IPv6 is a 128 bit address and is alpha-numeric and resembles a MAC address more than the IP address you are used to seeing. An example of an IPv6 address is 2001:ODB8:AC10:FE01:: (0’s can be omitted via double colon). This significantly increases the number of usable addresses to about 3.4×1038. Because there are so many addresses available, this also reduces the need for NAT (Network Address Translation), which can help simplify networks by eliminating the need to convert private and public IP Addresses.
Why you should consider switching to IPV6?
If you are in IT, you know the answer already, but according to ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) the world is running out of IPv4 addresses due to high user demand and the sheer number of online capable devices today. Emerging markets in particular have been seeing double digit growth in the number of connected households. ARIN is taking longer and longer to hand out new IPv4 subnets and the justification guidelines are very strict.
Where do I get the IP addresses from?
You can get them direct from a carrier without a problem or you can request them direct from ARIN. To get IPv6 addresses in DNS, you will need to add AAAA records, which is the IPv6 equivalent of a standard IPv4 A Record where you would link an IP address to a domain name etc.
Do I have to deploy IP to the whole network or can I limit it to my edge devices?
You can dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 on any capable device. This is currently the most popular way of deploying IPv6 today.
Will IPv6 affect the way we use the internet?
Not when dual stacked and many if the most popular sites today support IPv6. For example, Google has IPv6 resolvers in place today. Facebook is in its final stages or rolling out IPv6. Want to test it out? Use the new IPv6 Ping command ping6, example ping6 2001:4860:b002::68 or by host name, example ping6 ipv6.google.com
Have there been any issues in moving to IPv6?
The main issue that has come up is involving security. But since this was discovered it has been becoming less and less of an issue. The main thing is simply to be aware and check your firewall and IDPS policies. There have been some issues with DDoS attacks, or IPv6 UDP traffic not being filtered. Some other nuances like the ICF on Server 2003 are only capable of filtering IPv4. The best practice is once we have made a switch with you, we can bring a security company to test the security policies and make sure you adhere to any compliance standards you may have whether it be for PCI, HIPPA, FISMA etc.
If you are planning on implementing IPv6 on your network, give us a call and we can assist.
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