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IPv6 grabs attention at the Redstone Symposium


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Reviewing the registrations for the Redstone Symposium, I see that the most popular session is our IP version 6 workshop.

This highlights that, whilst IPv6 is now in use and growing, it’s still not penetrated the mainstream technical teams as IP version 4 did. The reasons for this are likely varied, but come down to the fact that unless you are a network engineer dealing in IPv6 then the most exposure you will have had will be via your home broadband network running IPv4 or attempting to troubleshoot local network issues via the ipconfig command.

Networks themselves, as they become more reliable, drop back from the forefront of people’s minds – DNS hides the network layer from us all, but is only a single address resolution away. The benefits of IPv6 have been engineered directly into the protocol to make it as easy as possible to get connected; Windows 7 and Mac all support IPv6 by default and its nature is self-configuring. If a router supports IPv6 it will provide network details to clients, and access to the network is then seamless.

Back in the days of AppleTalk and IPv4 all sorts of stacks and drivers needed to be configured when moving between networks. IPv6 by design removes all interaction and just works.  It’s this ease of use that has seen IPv6 deployed without notice, leading to an unfamiliarity with the protocol, that could be why we are seeing quite a high level of interest in this session.

Our network manager, Felix Moleele, will be presenting IPv6 for us in the session and will explain the evolution from binary, to decimal to hexadecimal. It will be interesting to find out the full features of IPv6 that I have recently been reviewing, such as the removal of broadcast addresses through each client actually having a unicast and several broadcast addresses. It personally means for me a new way of thinking. After all – IPv4 has been around a long time and it will be hard to let go and embrace the new way of working.

With Felix fresh from our own IPv6 upgrade across our ISP, MPLS and Metro networks I’m sure the Q&A session will prove to be lively and informative!



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