I don’t usually do editorials, but today I feel like I have to.
Being an IT person who’s spent all day, every day of the last 14 years doing IT work, I think it’s safe to say that worldwide fully routable IPv6 is not even close to a reality. I remember about 10 years ago I was told that the ‘whole internet’ was going to shut down for a few days to swap over. That simply isn’t going to happen. Newer Desktop OS’s support IPv6, on the other end, web servers like google.com support IPv6, the problem is that most ISP’s don’t support IPv6, most routers, most firewalls, IPS/IDS’s, etc… do not support it. These take months-years to fully configure, assuming you can convince the CIO to eat the cost and replace your hardware, just so other new companies who want to join the internet can have a new routable space (good luck with that). The other problem is that applications are very tied to IPv4, converting them would be a daunting task at best.
I also feel another big issue is that we really REALLY don’t need IPv6, there are FAR too many large companies that put public addresses on EVERY single desktop in the corporation, luckily most of them are not truly bidirectional routable (thank god for some security sense). In today’s economy, the smartest thing we can do is to stay on IPv4 and take back all the Class A & B networks that are not assigned to ISP’s, give those companies a class C or two, make them only use Public IP’s on their externally routed machines.
The other option is to truly move to IPv6, I have no doubt we can ‘use’ IPv6, the problem is turning off the IPv4. The only way to make this happen is to mandate it, just like the HDTV switchover, it NEVER would have happened if the government had not forced it to. If you put an end date, CIO’s will be forced to allocate the time & money to reconfigure their networks and rewrite their applications.
I made a bet with a co-worker back in 2007, the bet was a steak dinner for me if the whole internet had not moved over to IPv6 by 2011, I’m going to enjoy that steak, anybody else want to make me a bet on 2015?