Zero Hour Approaches for IPv6: Why IPv6?

The current Internet addressing scheme is expected to become obsolete in 2012. In the first post of his 3-part series for SHARE President's Corner, veteran tech writer Carl Weinschenk explores why businesses must transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

The Internet is running out of addresses. The new Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6, would offer 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 total potential addresses, or "address space." The good news for those responsible for keeping mainframes properly connected to the rest of the world is that support among carriers, service providers and websites is strong and growing. There still is danger, however, that the initiative will fall short of complete success. If that happens, the Internet will degenerate into an uneven affair in which the content available to a user depends upon whether or not their ISP did its homework to ready their networks for the new version of the protocol.

The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will impact mainframes and the people who run them. For one thing, mainframes that are not upgraded to IPv6 will depend on cumbersome transitional hardware devices and software work-arounds.

On June 6, 2012, almost one year to the day later and the 68th anniversary of D-Day -Web sites, ISPs and consumer electronics manufacturers will celebrate World IPv6 Launch Day and turn on the new protocol.

Read the full article to learn more about the rationale to move to IPv6 and how it differs from IPv4.