I have been busy helping with training new staff the past week and one of the new topics on our training course is IPv6. When we started the training program about six years the test was relatively short but now it has grown to encompass all the advances our industry has made in the past few years ago. From EFM to FTTC our industry is inundated with new technology, and importantly more acronyms, making learning a challenge for newbie’s joining our industry. IPv6 however does, when you are training at least, seem unnecessarily complex and cumbersome.
I think the biggest issue is that without wide adoption it is not a topic discussed regularly and hence facts and figures can be quickly forgotten. Also without a wide variety of hardware or software not supporting it even now, what are the best practices for adoption and day to day use? These are problems most IT Managers are going to face over the coming years as not only do their wide area networks turn IPv6 but also their internal (or now possibly public) networks.
I would imagine if you spoke to most IT people within your company they would have a few IP addresses in their head – the IP for your internal DNS server for instance, the IP for the gateway, maybe even the public IP that you need to dial for your VPN to work. But what is going to happen with IPv6 – how is anyone going to remember the IP?
The IP of my company website for example with IPv4 is 220.127.116.11 but in IPv6 that changes to: 2a00:0f18:0006:0000:0000:0001:0000:0102. However there is light at the end of the tunnel as you can shorten the address by dropping unnecessary zeros so it can be written as 2a00:f18:6::1:0:102 – but it is still pretty complex and not something easily remembered. Obviously DNS is there to help as it is much easier to remember www.fluidata.co.uk but you can’t always use it especially in configurations. I am sure we will see more software developed to help with this issue or alternatively we will see some imaginative uses of IPv6 addresses – like Facebook who use 2620::1cfe:face:b00c:0:0:3v.