Majority of Organisations Slowly Deploying IPv6 While Cost Misconceptions Worry Some

With the supply of IPv4 addresses likely to be exhausted in May 2011, the slow adoption of IPv6 is becoming troubling even though most businesses are aware of the need to according to a global survey by the Number Resource Organization. The NRO is concerned about the slow rate of adoption of the technology that will give an almost limitless supply of internet protocol addresses despite the majority of organisations being aware that the change needs to happen.While most businesses are aware of the need to adopt IPv6, there are also concerns about the cost of adoption, a misconception, as any delay in adoption will lead to increased costs in the near future.Yesterday the NRO released the findings of a global, independent survey into organisations’ IPv6 readiness. Funded by the European Commission and conducted by GNKS Consult and TNO, the study reveals that the majority of organisations are taking steps toward IPv6 deployment, as the IPv4 address pool continues to deplete rapidly.”It’s great to see that as we move toward complete IPv4 exhaustion, more organisations worldwide are waking up to the need to adopt IPv6 and are sourcing IPv6 addresses from the RIRs,” said Axel Pawlik, Chairman of the NRO.”Yet there is still a distinct lack of internet traffic over the next addressing protocol, with not enough ISPs offering IPv6 services and 30 per cent of ISPs saying the proportion of this traffic is less than 0.5 per cent. It’s critical that ISPs now take the next step in the global adoption effort by offering IPv6 services to their customers to help boost traffic over IPv6.””It’s encouraging to see that so many organisations have made IPv6 adoption their priority. Still, as the Internet becomes increasingly important for global socio-economic development, it’s critical that those who are still sitting on the fence act now on IPv6,” said Per Blixt, Head of Unit in the Information Society and Medias at the European Commission. “Only by ensuring that all organisations adopt IPv6 can we ensure the sustainable growth of the digital economy worldwide.”The Number Resource Organization (NRO) is the official representative of the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) that oversee the allocation of all internet number resources. The IP addresses that it allocates are critical for the operation of the internet. Every internet-enabled device needs an IP address to connect to the rest of the network. The biggest threat facing the internet today is that less than 6 per cent of the current form of IP addresses, IPv4, remains and the pool is likely to be completely depleted next year. This means that organisations need to adopt IPv6, the next-generation addressing protocol. There is a far larger pool of IPv6 addresses, allowing for more devices to connect to the Internet and helping to safeguard the sustainable growth of the Internet.The survey, which polled over 1,500 organisations from 140 countries, highlights that organisations are increasingly aware of the need to deploy IPv6: approximately 84 per cent already have IPv6 addresses or have considered requesting them from the RIRs. Only 16 per cent of respondents have no plans to deploy IPv6 addresses.The study also demonstrates that there are some misconceptions around the cost of adopting IPv6. Over half of all respondents noted that the cost of deployment was a major barrier for IPv6 adoption. While organisations might delay investing in IPv6, this may ultimately result in greater costs, with last-minute deployment and poor planning likely to increase the investment required.Of the 84 per cent of respondents that have requested IPv6 addresses or have considered doing so, three-quarters reported the need to stay ahead of competition as the main reason for IPv6 adoption. Half of these respondents also noted that a lack of available IPv4 space was a major driver for deployment. When asked about issues they had encountered when deploying IPv6:

  • 60 per cent cited the lack of vendor support as a major barrier for deployment. However, most of the latest hardware and software support IPv6. The RIRs are strongly urging organisations to check with their suppliers to ensure that the technologies they use are IPv6 compatible.
  • 45 per cent reported a struggle to find knowledgeable technical staff to support deployment. However, all five RIRs arrange technical training to facilitate an efficient IPv6 deployment, details of which can be accessed via the NRO website.

58 per cent of all organisations polled were ISPs. It is likely that respondents to this survey are further ahead in IPv6 deployment than ISPs overall, but all organisations should ensure that their ISP offers or plans to offer services over IPv6. Out of the polled ISPs:

  • Approximately 60 per cent already offer, or plan to offer within the next year, IPv6 to consumers.
  • 70 per cent already offer, or plan to offer within the next year, IPv6 to businesses.
  • Only about 10 per cent of polled ISPs have no plans to offer IPv6 to consumers or businesses.

This survey is a follow-up to a study conducted in 2009 amongst organisations in Europe, Middle East and parts of Central Asia, as well as Asia Pacific; however this year’s survey polled organisations worldwide.The full research report is available at: www.nro.net/documents/GlobalIPv6SurveySummaryv2.pdf

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