IPv6 is a reality. Network technologies, services and support systems are ready for it, with IPv6 device support widely available and operators already deploying IPv6 in their networks.
As operators of mobile and fixed networks prepare for the emerging Networked Society, they face unprecedented challenges of scale and complexity. The fourth generation IP network will be driven by mobility, video, the cloud and, above all, by billions of connected devices.
Services running the next version of IP – version 6 – are already being offered to users from major providers. Yet to reach these IPv6-based services, devices and underlying networks must be IPv6-capable. The greater addressing capacity of IPv6 networks represents a potential source of increased revenue and reduced opex for the operators that can find a way to exploit the enhanced capabilities of IPv6 compared with IPv4 addressing.
Migrating underlying networks to IPv6 is key to attaining scale, operational simplicity, and the capacity to monetize new services and revenue opportunities. Network planners must include mechanisms for local coexistence between both IPv6 and IPv4 infrastructure, plus the continued interworking of both of these with the rest of the internet, including new IPv6 only networks.
Deploying IPv6 impacts everything; the network, the host stacks, the applications, operational systems, processes and staff. In the network, it will not be only IP routers that need IPv6 functionality but also network-based systems such as mobility support, load balancing, firewalling, or intrusion detection.
It is important to identify the business drivers for adopting IPv6 in each part of the network. It is necessary to create a phased migration strategy for: end users; external service providers; internal service and provisioning systems and transport networks; and internal operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS) networks.