When you know the hurricane is coming, you head inland. When you know there’s a blizzard in the forecast, you stock up on candles, batteries, and non-perishable food. The Boy Scouts have it right when they say “Be Prepared.”
Such is the case with IPv6, which Sprint thrust into the news last week with an announcement that talks about the steps we’re taking to make the change as painless as we can for enterprise customers when the time comes. Just in case you haven’t been following this … IPv6 introduces a 128-bit addressing format for Internet-connected devices, opening the door to an almost infinite number of addresses. In contrast, the current IPv4 has only a 32-bit format, and the number of addresses that enables just isn’t keeping up with population and connection growth.
Anyway, like the hurricane or the blizzard, IPv6 is coming at its pace … not ours …as the available Internet addresses get consumed like Pac-Man chewing up Pac-Dots (can you believe Pac-Man is now 30 years old?). The faster these addresses are claimed, the sooner the day of reckoning for IPv6.
So it’s timely that Sprint is pushing this issue, now that deployment for large businesses and wholesale partners is complete on our domestic Internet backbone. IPv6 will be rolled out on the international Internet backbone by the end of the year. This implementation of IPv6 support is built on a native dual-stack solution, which will allow a period of co-existence between IPv6 and IPv4 … to make sure the transition is a smooth one.
Next year, IPv6 support gets extended to the Sprint Global MPLS Layer 3 VPN network, and then to the wireless network in early 2012.
Sprint and others in the industry have been preparing for this for years, since it has long been clear that the days would eventually be numbered for IPv4. In our case, we have spent well over a decade actively involved in standardization, testing, and deployment. IPv6 services have been available on the Sprint PIP (Peerless IP) network since 2006, and for years, our testbed IPv6 network has been in place so that we and others could build up experience and expertise when it will be needed most.
So now that you know what’s coming … get prepared. Click to read the news release.
For your additional reading pleasure, check out these IPv6 sources:
IPv6 Task Force