Planning for IPv6

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is destined to replace version 4. Here's seven top tips on how to implement it.

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IPv6 is not a "maybe" that could be 10 or 20 years out in the future; it is a hard reality that you are going to encounter, possibly before the end of this decade, says Jeff Doyle, noted IP routing expert and author of Routing IP, published by Cisco Press. I

In his blog for Cisco Subnet, Doyle details his top seven considerations for rolling out IPv6.

1. Control the cost

It's not true that shifting to IPv6 would involve ripping out your existing network and putting in a full-scale replacement. If you've kept up with your product updates, a lot of your equipment would already be IPv6-capable, according to Doyle. The products you need to check closely for IPv6 support are network management and security products, he says. You can also significantly reduce IPv6 implementation expenses with a good implementation plan that spans a multi-year timeline.

2. Embark on a feasibility study

IPv6 is not an objective; it's a potential solution to a problem. The first question to ask is, "What's the problem I'm trying to solve?" By identifying that you would be able to get a clear picture of where you are going, why you are going there and what you might face on the way, says Doyle.

3. Don't regard it as IPv6 transition

It's an IPv6 implementation: Transition implies that you are replacing one technology with another, whereas implementation implies that you are adding a technology to what you already have. And in most cases, that's what you'll be doing with IPv6: adding it to your network, not replacing IPv4. The result means that IPv4 and IPv6 would coexist on your network.

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