IPv6 Networking

IPv6 Networking

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In 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) distributed the last five /8 (historically referred to as "Class A") IPv4 address blocks to the Regional Internet Registries (RIR). This event signaled the end for the IPv4-based Internet and heralded the start of the global transition to the next-generation Internet protocol, IPv6. Standardized in 1995, IPv6 enhances the Internet protocol and addresses the issue of IP resource exhaustion, but never gained a significant foothold in the marketplace for a variety of economic and technological reasons. While some technology camps believe Network Address Translation (NAT) suffices, Internet scalability requirements and the ever-increasing complexity of multiple NATed environments make a compelling case for IPv6 adoption now.

Despite a lack of widespread interest in IPv6, numerous organizations, including world governments, large IT product companies, major service providers, and some early adopters blazed the trail for IPv6 adoption. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed mechanisms to support the co-existence of IPv4 and IPv6 and to mitigate some of the financial burden of migration. IT vendors incorporated support for IPv6 in many mainstream products. Emerging from this collective effort of the early adopters are methodologies and best practices for the secure and efficient deployment of IPv6.

The ultimate desired environment for any IPv6 adoption program is to enable dual stack (both IPv4 and IPv6 running concurrently on the same device) on all devices throughout the organization. But the path to achieving a dual stack installation is rarely the same from organization to organization. Despite different approaches to the end state, all well managed deployments embody these approaches:

  1. Validate and Test Designs: Configurations and architectures evaluated in isolated labs first and then systematically deployed in the production environment.
  2. Manage and Troubleshoot Deployments: Nothing ever goes perfectly the first time. Invariably equipment malfunctions, human error, or Murphy's Law interferes during deployments and requires systematic troubleshooting to correct.
  3. Monitor for Unauthorized/Rogue IPv6 Devices: IPv6 is supported in most modern IT devices and operating systems, enabled by default in some cases. Unintentional deployment is a security issue and needs to be monitored and managed.

Effective tools are a critical element of the implementation process and support all of these key activities. On the frontline, technicians use the LinkRunner™ AT Networks Auto-Tester to quickly solve connectivity problems when deploying and troubleshooting in IPv6 environments. If problems escalate, network engineers use the OptiView® XG Network Analysis Tablet to support IPv6 deployment, troubleshoot integration issues, and help identify unintentional IPv6 deployment while Network Time Machine and Clearsight Analyzer capture and analyze IPv6 traffic. These tools provide a powerful solution to all your IPv6 issues and problems.

Read Case Study: Professional Services Firm Ensures Secure and Successful IPv6 Deployments for Customers with the OptiView XG Network Analysis Tablet. Read more.