Deploying IPv6 is like managing any other IT project. This simple checklist should help to get you started:
- Appoint a project manager
- Talk to your Internet Service Provider
- Identify the network components that will need to be changed or upgraded
- Identify the training needs for team and project manager
- Determine costs of new hardware and software
- Select suppliers (possibly the same as you have today) and consultants
- Develop a project plan
- Present costs to the decision maker in the organisation
To keep your business connected now and in the future, you need to ensure that the technologies you use are compatible with the next generation of IP addresses, IPv6.
Basic steps include:
- Check that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can fill your IPv6 requirements
- Organise IPv6 connectivity and address space
- Carry out a hardware and software audit to determine the compatibility of existing technologies with IPv6
- Configure your routers, other hardware, operating systems and applications before IPv4 addresses run out
- Train staff to deploy and manage IPv6
- Rewrite any of your own applications that store IP addresses to be IPv6 compatible
Regardless of the economic climate and shrinking IT budgets, planning for IPv6 deployment needs to start now. Businesses need to invest in IPv6 to save in the long-term and protect return on technology investments that depend on the Internet.
The longer a business waits to adopt IPv6, the more expensive it will be. Last minute deployment makes it less likely that equipment upgrades can be integrated into your existing upgrade cycles, and will require more intensive training of staff. Both of these factors can serve to increase costs dramatically.
Businesses need to develop a comprehensive deployment plan now to ensure they stay connected now and in the future.
Talk to Your ISP
Most businesses rely on an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for their connection to the Internet. Your own network’s IPv6 requirements and deployment schedule will be contingent upon your upstream provider’s IPv6 deployment, so it is important that you understand what your ISP can provide and when.
Some questions that you might ask your service provider:
- Do you currently provide IPv6 connectivity?
- If not, when do you plan to deploy IPv6 on your customer networks? What is your deployment timeline?
- When will our website be available over IPv6?
- Do you provide customers with IPv6-compatible modems, or other devices necessary for connecting over IPv6?
- Why have you not provided information for your customers on IPv6 and the requirements from our side to be ready?
An essential part of making your business IPv6 ready is to ensure that your equipment is compatible with the next generation of IP addressing. The first step is to carry out an IT audit to identify which pieces of equipment (routers, servers and other hardware) need upgrading or even replacing.
Your hardware vendor(s) should be able to help you with this process, and advise you on how to make the necessary changes. It may require a significant amount of time and effort to convert all elements of your IT infrastructure, so you may want to consider a staged deployment.
Below is a list of information provided by a sample of hardware vendors to get you started.
- Alcatel Lucent
(see also IPv6 – The Road Ahead, a 2006 white paper published by Alcatel Lucent)
- Sun Microsystems
In order for your entire network to be IPv6 ready you need to ensure that all hardware and software is dual stacked (running IPv4 and IPv6). If you have purchased software from a third party you’ll need to get in touch with the provider to check if the product is already IPv6 compatible or if there’s an upgrade available. A great deal of software already on the market (including many computer operating systems, though not Windows XP) is IPv6-ready by default.
If no IPv6 upgrade is available, you’ll need to look for an alternative software source. Any software that you have developed in house may have to be rewritten.
There are many IPv6 training course options available, from online education to face-to-face training.
If your organisation is a member of the RIPE NCC, your staff can attend the RIPE NCC’s IPv6 Training Course for free. This course provides information on how to obtain IPv6 addresses and how to prepare your deployment plan. The course is open to all members and is free of charge.
At the more technical end of the scale, there are several RFC documents maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that include case studies for IPv6 deployment under various business models:
- RFC 5375: IPv6 Unicast Address Asssignment Considerations
Aims to provide the information and recommendations relevant to planning the addressing aspects of IPv6 deployments. The document also provides IPv6 addressing case studies for both an enterprise and an ISP network.