Towards the transition from IPv4 to IPv6

Being able to wake up and from the comfort of your bed turn on the lights, make a coffee, turn down the air conditioning and turn on the washing machine all at the same time, is not something far away, seen in a science fiction movie, it is closer to reality in the one we live.

With the increase in the use of devices for our daily activities, our world will become a little simpler. This is thanks to the “Internet of Things”, a term used to refer to what is known as an M2M (machine to machine) connection, where machines communicate with each other. This is possible thanks to the chips and sensors of each device that transmit information and make the machines make decisions in real-time, generating what is known as fog computing.

For this to be possible, it is necessary for the user to enter their Wi-Fi network, if they are going to access their device from a public place, and map it to an external network. The solution is to grant public Internet Protocol (IP) space to all “things.” The rate of new “stuff” is growing at such a rapid rate that the current rate of address allocation will not be sufficient to supply the volume. In order to provide IP addresses to all devices, the Internet must transition from IPv4 to IPv6. To have new addresses on the Internet, a change to IPv6 is required, the latest version of IP created to replace IPv4. IPv4 is based on a pool of addresses encoded in 32 bits, and IPv6 arrives with addresses encoded in 128 bits, about 67 thousand trillion addresses for every square millimeter of the planet.

This transition corresponds to telecommunications companies and Internet Providers (ISPs) and content service companies, Web, etc. If the transition is not made, once the IPv4 addresses are exhausted, end-users will not be able to connect new networks and devices to the Internet, and even some content that is only IPv6 will be inaccessible. End users do not have to do anything, in particular, to switch to IPv6 and it is estimated that most should not be affected, except in cases of connectivity problems due to some network device with configurations not updated to the new IPv6. In this situation, they tend to lease IPv4 addresses or switch to the IPv6 ones.

The addressing structure of the IPv4 protocol should be exhausted soon, there are predictions that state that from 2021 this limit will have drastic consequences for the Internet, providers, and corporations. It is not only due to the issue of addressing capacity that the migration from IPv4 to IPv6 is urgent. Several additional benefits regarding capacity apply to the implementation of IPv6, such as better efficiency in routing by reducing the routing tables and presenting fragmentation by the source devices themselves and not in the routers. The network configuration is also simplified since the autoconfiguration of addressing is native to IPv6, where the router sends the prefix of the local link in its advertisements and the host can generate its own IP address by adding its MAC address.

The protocol supports new services, eliminating NAT – Network Address Translation tables, enabling the creation of truly peer-to-peer networks between hosts of origin and destination, benefiting streaming services, VoIP, and making QoS mechanisms – the quality of service more robust. Security is increased since the implementation of IPSec is native even for ICMP packets.

Because IPv6 works with multicast and no longer with Broadcast, bandwidth-intensive traffic flows, such as video streaming, are handled more efficiently, as well as packet processing, eliminating a series of checksums (sum of verification) in your headers.

Despite all these technical benefits, the implementation of IPv6 has still extended in the process of replacing the IPv4 protocol also by a series of difficulties, which range from the support of operators and ISPs to the protocol to the difficulty of technicians from companies in understanding and implementation of this architecture in their networks.

As time goes on and the number of devices has multiplied exponentially, mainly due to the IoT – Internet of Things and SD-WAN phenomena, it is urgent that the companies’ IT sectors, as well as operators and providers, start to train in a structured and deep way and understand that the announced crisis is a great opportunity for the reformulation of its network infrastructures, which will have greater efficiency and security, simplicity of management and flexibility of growth.

There is still a long way to go to see great penetration of IPv6 on the Internet as we have observed in our backbone. This is why many individuals and companies still need IPv4 addresses and the best option for them is to lease IPv4. For owners of IPv4 addresses (that are no longer in use), platforms such as IPXO make it easier for them to monetize their addresses. IPXO is a platform that brings together IPv4 addresses owners and potential buyers so that they can transact in a secure and mutually beneficial manner. The platform is secure because it eliminates the risk of blocking addresses that are common on some black markets.

There is currently no considerable pressure for broadband providers to transition, as long as the ability to effectively negotiate the remaining IPv4 address spaces exists. Financial and competitive pressure is expected to increase over time. Consumers will demand the ability to interact with each device seamlessly, with great speed, ease, and continuously from anywhere. In particular, with the growth of the Internet of Things, consumer expectations will increase.

Although the existence of this new protocol has been lived together for many years, the greater demand and expectation of consumers will be what drives greater adoption. For this important transition to take place, it is necessary to be trained and have knowledge in networking, Delivery systems, documentation, databases, and analysis and monitoring. There are several sources of information and resources available, as well as trainings that can help with the adoption process, which should be done in phases. The important thing is to take this step towards the transition so that you can innovate and take advantage of the benefits of the next generation of network technologies.