The hubbub around the shortage of internet protocol (IPv4) addresses is nothing more than "millennium bug"-style fear-mongering, according to Netgear's vice president and general manager of its commercial business unit, Shane Buckley.
As users from all over the world gobble up the last available IPv4 addresses, enterprises and governments have turned their focus onto how best to migrate onto the IPv6 standard.
"You can't get a public IPv4 address any more, the last one was issued in the US about six months ago," Buckley said. And while some ISPs like Internode and iiNet are hoarding IPv4 addresses, the time will come when everyone needs to migrate to the new standard.
Buckley said the need to migrate to IPv6 had fallen victim to the same hype that the millennium bug had in the late 1990s.
"I guess in a way [IPv4 shortage is] like the millennium bug issue; it tends to be hyped to be a bigger issue than it was," he said. "It is a real problem, but having said that there are well-known solutions for getting around it."
Most organisations, Buckley said, are prepared.
"Most vendors have an IPv6 strategy. We've published ours for a number of years and many of our products are either IPv6 today, or IPv6 ready."
Buckley said that the movement to IPv6 is largely going to be based on how each particular organisation uses the internet, adding that businesses would likely upgrade their public-facing infrastructure to IPv6 before they upgrade end-user devices in the business, to make the change-over easier on IT departments.
"[Business will upgrade] the vast majority of equipment like switches, internal firewalls and storage devices. It won't be user end points running IPv6, they'll be IPv4," Buckley said.
"Why upgrade your whole infrastructure when you don't need to?"
Google published statistics in January that said only 0.2 per cent of users are equipped to use IPv6 technology. Yet, Buckley said that Netgear customers would be safe when the time came.
"If you bought one of our products in the last three years, you should be OK," he said.
(Front page image credit: Exploding car image by Dave Keeshan, CC BY-SA 2.0)