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IPv6 readiness offers competitive edge

Enterprises should assess how they can gain business advantage by supporting IPv6, which is key in next-generation networks.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Businesses need to start planning and preparing for IPv6 but should not focus only on the cost of supporting new Web addresses. Instead, they should look at how being IPv6-ready can give them a competitive advantage.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Paul Wilson, executive director general of APNIC (Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre), said in an increasingly Internet-based world where gaining a competitive advantage can mean "live or die" for some companies, IPv6 readiness can help provide that critical market advantage.

With the pending exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, Wilson noted that, "very soon", large network infrastructures will be deployed primarily with IPv6 users. China, for example, will operate networks that are IPv6-dominant, he said, adding that businesses looking to market to the Chinese market will want to ensure their Web presence, content and services are visible to and accessible by IPv6 users.

Being IP6-ready can yield benefits for B2C (business-to-consumer) companies as well as B2B (business-to-business) companies. Using the networking industry as an example, Wilson said: "The world will be crying out for IPv6-compliant networking equipment on a large scale." And manufacturers which systems support IPv6 will have a "massive advantage" over those that do not, he added.

According to Wilson, some organizations remain reluctant to move to IPv6 and are waiting for the "killer IPv6 app" before they do so.

Next-gen network building block
The urgency to be IPv6-ready is echoed by Tom Siracusa, executive director of VPN strategy with AT&T Labs. In a separate interview, he pointed to IPv6 as one of the four building blocks of next-generation networks which also include networks, Ethernet and cloud.

With the explosion of mobile devices and machine-to-machine networking, next-generation networks will need to be reliable and scalable, Siracusa said. In addition, these networks have to support both traditional data applications as well as real-time streaming tools such as telepresence, he noted.

With these requirements, IPv6 becomes critical in enabling the growth of new mobile devices and applications, he said.

There is currently a lack of IPv6-compatible mobile devices in the market, but Siracusa said these will become more prevalent when LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks are rolled out.

He urged companies to prepare themselves for IPv6 as they will not want to wait until the last minute to discover they cannot access online content.

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