Remaining Connected In 2012 And Beyond

In my last post I provided an update on the rate of IPv4 depletion and IPv6 adoption. This time I will look at what needs to be done to make sure we all stay connected to the Internet in 2012 and beyond.

The immediate challenge lies in making content available via IPv6 and in using the processes and mechanisms already available through the five RIRs. It is vital that service providers and content providers build adequate experience and expertise to continue to grow and develop the Internet infrastructure and with it, a sustainable, healthy Internet economy.

At a business level, organisation will need to 'dual stack' and run IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously to guarantee full connectivity when upgrading. Businesses should check that their Internet Service Providers provide IPv6 as a matter of urgency as most companies rely on ISPs for their connections to the Internet.

If this is the case, the ability to adopt IPv6 will be dependent on the status of the ISP's IPv6 deployment. Most ISPs these days will provide IPv6 capabilities - the Global IPv6 Deployment Monitoring Survey 2011 found that 70 percent of global ISPs plan to adopt IPv6 by the end of next year - but if one doesn't, the project manager leading IPv6 adoption must either lay out an IPv6 plan of action together with the ISP, or consider switching to an ISP that will offer services over IPv6.

Businesses will also need to ensure that their technologies are compatible with IPv6, checking routers and applications before IPv4 runs out. An IT audit should be carried out to identify which pieces of equipment need upgrading or even replacing. I also recommend working directly with hardware vendors, as they will be able to advise on how to make any necessary changes.

Ultimately, the longer a business waits to adopt IPv6, the more expensive it will be. Poor planning and last-minute deployment has never been beneficial to an organisation, its operations or its relationships with stakeholders. Additionally, it's likely to send deployment costs through the roof. If they haven't already, businesses need to develop a comprehensive deployment plan now.

A carefully planned and strategically executed implementation will be far less disruptive for an organisation than a last-minute, expensive and rushed roll-out.