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Workshop Report 2009
IPv6 Transition: Economic and Technical Considerations
Workshop description and list of panelists:
Organizer: ICANN, NTRA, AfriNIC
Moderator: Sherif Guinena, National Telecom Regulatory Authority of Egypt (NTRA)
Panelists: David Conrad (ICANN VP of Research and IANA Policies); Patrik Fältström (Consulting Engineer with Cisco System; Advisor to Swedish IT Minister); Gamal Hegazy (Solution Architect, Alcatel-Lucent); Mark Elkins (Posix Systems, SA; Board Member of AfriNIC).
This workshop addressed the issue of IPv4/IPv6 transition from a practical point of view, with a prime focus on developing countries and challenges facing those countries to move towards the transition.
The actors involved in the field; various initiatives that people can connect with, and contacts for further information:
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN): icann.org
Internet Society (ISOC): isoc.org
Number Resource Organization (NRO): nro.org
Regional Internet Registries: AfriNIC, RIPE NCC, APNIC, ARIN, and LACNIC
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were identified:
Recent data showed that 12 /8s IPv4 blocks are being consumed every year, and as per potaroo.net, IANA would run out of IPv4 addresses in Sep 2011, while the RIRs would still have IPv6 blocks until Aug 2012. Speakers seemed to agree that IPv4 would continue to be there for a long time, in coexistence with IPv6. An analysis on the pros and cons of IPv6 in comparison to IPv4 showed that address space is the key advantage, while other features like mobility, QoS, and auto-configuration despite being theoretically good; many of them are still immature and have implementation problems in reality. The same analysis showed that IPv6 may not be better that IPv4 with regard to routing and security.
There was also the view that IPv4 exhaustion will result in more NATing , and that NAT in general breaks the end-to-end architecture of the Internet, which is not the case with IPv6. There was also the view that IPv4 addresses still exist (no real shortage), and a lot of services are being implemented and run using NAT, which seems to be working.
Technical/hands-on experience was shared. Acquiring IPv6 address space has been a straightforward process. AfriNIC have been promoting IPv6 and three years ago they used to give it for free. AfriNIC’s goal was to raise awareness among community and encourage them to get ready so to minimize any risk of damage, and also to learn from mistakes made with IPv4 assignment. Deploying IPv6 is not difficult, it is rather another protocol running on the network, and it needs a bit of more knowledge. Some glitches with few services required digging for solutions, e.g. reverse DNS, double defining virtual hosts...etc.
A recent European Commission’s research on IPv6 readiness showed that 92% of service providers surveyed do not have any IPv6 on their network, 17% of organizations use IPv6 in one sort or another, less than 30% of organizations are concerned about the problem, 70% do not see a business need, 57% indicated lack of user demand, and 75% indicated they want to be ahead of the game.
Speakers seemed to agree that IPv6 over the core network solutions is ready, but there is yet an issue with access particularly in cases where end-users CPEs do not support IPv6. Standardization for IPv6 consumer Internet could remove IPv4 dependencies on the long term.
Some speakers were of the view that economically IPv4 is still cheaper than IPv6, so there is no incentive for service providers to move to IPv6. Some also raised the point in relation to lack of v6 services and applications (chicken and egg problem). Others believe that the cost of v6 transition is and should be part of the natural expansion of any network, and although there is yet a cost component, it is not substantial.
There was a view on transition strategies, that network and service providers as well as end users should take advantage of the lead time and consider an inventory of their hardware and software and check what components may need replacement or upgrade to be IPv6 enabled, and take this into account in their next phase of upgrades. Experiments are ongoing which consider the different network components and transition strategies.
Conclusions and further comments:
Questions and comments from the floor were mainly about the cost involved in the transition to IPv6. It was indicated that the cost is not only the hardware and software costs which are not substantive, but also the costs involved in the reconfiguration. However; the panel seemed to agree that this coast is naturally embedded in the routine systems upgrades, but on the other hand this requires building human resources capacities capable of handling the v4/v6 transition.
One comment was about statistics shared on readiness, noting that 15 years ago a lot of organizations did not realize they would need access to the Internet.
There was an opinion that suggested developing a model transition strategy that developing Countries can consider while targeting transition to IPV6.
...End of Report...
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