Pv6 in Other Standards

In addition to products and services, IPv6 is being adopted in standards that enterprises are implementing. Table 6-6 lists some of these standards.

Table 6-6 IPv6 in Other Standards

Organization

WiMAX Forum

3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project)

SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association)

DMTF (Distributed Management Task Force)

OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards)

Standard

802.16

IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem)

SMI-S (Storage Management Initiative Specification)

CIM (Common Information Model)

Several XML standards

Website

http://www.wimaxforum.org http://www.3gpp.org/

http://www.snia.org

http://www.dmtf.org http://www.oasis-open.org

continues

Table 6-6 IPv6 in Other Standards (Continued)

Organization

IEEE

W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

DSL Forum CableLabs

Standard

Several standards and specifications

URL, URI, and several other specifications

Several standards and specifications

DOCSIS 3.0 and other specifications

Website

http://www.ieee.org http://www.w3.org http://www.dslforum.org http://www.cablelabs.org/

Summary

There are many documents, training modules, and books that present the technical aspects of IPv6 integration and its planning in great detail. Two of the resources we recommend are

• Deploying IPv6 Networks, by Ciprian Popoviciu, Eric Levy-Abegnoli, and Patrick Grossetete (Cisco Press, 2006)

• 6NET: An IPv6 Deployment Guide, edited by Martin Dunmore (Lancaster University, 2005), available at http://www.6net.org/book/ deployment-guide.pdf

Because this book is intended for decision makers, not technicians, this chapter focused on the nontechnical aspects of IPv6 planning, which are just as important to the success of a deployment as are the technical aspects. Table 6-7 concludes the chapter with a checklist that will help you start the planning process, organize it, and track it to its completion.

The integration of IPv6 is a multifaceted, strategic project requiring commitment at all levels of an organization. The early, comprehensive planning of the project is essential in the cost-effective delivery of IPv6 capabilities in time to meet the market needs. Regardless of whether the IPv6 deployment is imminent or not yet under consideration, it is never too soon to start planning for it.

Table 6-7 IPv6 Planning Process Checklist (to be completed by reader)

Action Owner Milestones Status

IPv6 strategy definition

Project scope definition

Stakeholders, gatekeepers, and messaging

IT environment assessment

Policy updates

Purchasing

Development

Security

Entrance/acceptance Training

Deployment planning

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At the start of this project in 2006, the exhaustion date for the global IPv4 address space was hotly debated, with some studies identifying a 2009 date and others a 2035 date or even later. By the time we completed writing the book in early 2008, the two principal estimates converged, and we arrived at an exhaustion time frame of 2010 to 2012. That assumes, of course, that the industry "behaves nicely" and there is no market rush to subscribe the latest pieces of the IPv4 address space. If you are involved in IT communications, you must appreciate the fact that, regardless of the precise exhaustion date, two to three years represents a short time when it comes to planning and rolling out a new networking protocol. The last thing you want is to have to rapidly deploy a costly IPv6 infrastructure to sustain growth and communicate with customers, suppliers, and partners. The worldwide demand for IP is not tied to an Internet Protocol version but rather to applications and services.

So what can we conclude at the end of this book that captures the industry's struggle to deal with the address limitations of IPv4 and with making the decision to engage in the upgrade process? One statement sums it up well: The IPv6 integration is happening now and no other alternative has been proposed or developed! We know there are people who flip straight to the conclusions. To those who already work on IPv6, this conclusion makes perfect sense. The ones who still have strong reservations about IPv6 may not resonate with this one-line conclusion. The statement would not change their view. For those who doubt, we want to take here one final, condensed look at IP that considers the evolutionary, adoption, and future perspectives.

Evolutionary Perspective

One of the best perspectives on the evolution of IP and the implications of IPv6 comes from the architect of the next generation of the Internet Protocol. In a brilliant presentation delivered on August 30, 2001, at IETF 51 in London, Dr. Steve Deering made the analogy between the protocol stack and an hourglass, as shown in Figure Conclusion-1.1

1. Steve Deering, "Watching the Waist of the Protocol Hourglass," "http://www.ietf.org/proceedings/ 01aug/slides/plenary-1/index.html.

Figure Conclusion-1 Protocol Stack as an Hourglass

Deering placed the IP layer at the waist of the hourglass, justifying its "narrowness" by the fact that we needed a simple protocol that could maximize the number of useable networks. New requirements led IP to put on some "weight" as it had to support multicast, QoS, and mobility functions. This trend is likely to continue, leading to more complexities. A life-changing event happened, however, when solutions based on Network Address Translation (NAT) and Application Layer Gateway (ALG) were adopted to alleviate the IPv4 address limitation constraints. These tools broke the hourglass and today we have to deal with the consequences. We lost many Internet features and spent too much energy solving traversal problems.

IPv6 can mend the protocol stack hourglass and shed some of the weight accumulated by IPv4. All of this can be done by the mere increase in the address space. Deering rightfully called the IPv4-IPv6 coexistence period a midlife crisis; this book is a testament to the validity of the analogy. Nevertheless, IPv6 represents an opportunity to streamline the IP layer again and reduce the entropy accumulated over the decades by IPv4.

Not everyone agrees with this vision. Some believe a mere evolution of IP implemented through larger addresses and a few small tweaks is not sufficient to heal the Internet. Routing, ubiquitous mobility, and scalable DNS are just a few of the problems that have to be solved. The position taken on solving the Internet's problems vary from a "tabula rasa" (blank slate) approach, led by the GENI project (http://www.geni.net/), to attempts to solve some of the problems at upper layers. Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) and Peer Naming Resolution Protocol (PNRP) are such examples of the evolution of layers above the IP network layer. Only time will tell which path we end up on, but the success of IPv4 might have delayed our pursuit of dramatically different solutions to the point where such solutions might not be available before the exhaustion of the IPv4 address space. So, at the time of this writing, Deering's wineglass (resembling the hourglass with the thin, long IPv6 waist) seems to be our best bet. So you might as well enjoy it: Cheers!

Adoption Perspective

Enabling IPv6 in the environment is not the end game. However, it is a critical requirement for many network-based products and services of the Internet going forward.

Regardless of how good the wine, the company of people will always enhance its enjoyment. So do we have an IPv6 party yet? We shared with you through market overviews and through concrete examples how IPv6 adoption is starting to gather steam. At the time of this writing, the mixture of clear business cases, environmental pressures, and resource exhaustion has not pushed the industry to the adoption tipping point but we are close to it. Several events are likely to precipitate the process:

• IPv4 Internet address depletion: IPv4 address exhaustion will be a strong incentive for IPv6 adoption where IPv4 addresses are most limited and there is rapid growth in Internet usage for large populations. However, the industry may also have to handle multiple NAT layers as workaround in some regions or market segments.

• Operating systems and applications: Increasing support for IPv6 in operating systems and new applications will drive adoption both for consumers and enterprises. A particular example is that of Microsoft

Vista and Microsoft Server 2008, which have IPv6 "on" and "preferred" by default, introducing new capabilities such as the Layer 3 clustering and a Peer-to-Peer framework. In addition, applications such as Meeting Space, Remote Assistance, EchoMyPlace, and others, designed to only run over IPv6, may represent a major catalyst for adoption.

• Government mandates and national IT strategies: Government mandates and national IT strategies worldwide will stimulate adoption at the national level. Their implementation, as in the case of the United States, Japan, China, Korea, and the European Union, will jump-start the adoption of IPv6, and in many cases they already have helped to highlight the need for an IPv6 strategy.

• New standards that leverage IPv6: The deployment of new standards that support and leverage IPv6 leads to networking environments primed for IPv6 deployment. For example, the adoption of DOCSIS 3.0 and 3G IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architectures will bring along IPv6 in the cable and mobile environments.

• Financial opportunities: IPv6 will be used by many organizations to generate new revenue streams or reduce costs by exploiting the new protocol in innovative ways. Natural economic competition will drive broader adoption. Consumers are starting to see IPTV, cellular, gaming, and broadband access products and services based on IPv6. Mobility enhancements are being leveraged for commercial and consumer customers. Industrial control systems are adopting IPv6. Enterprises are discovering new efficiencies in their daily operations, including those required to run the business as well as areas supporting more efficient revenue generation.

• IPv6 product maturity: Stable standards will help mature the products necessary to deploy IPv6. Product and service suppliers will select the timing to introduce new IPv6 features based on various factors, including perceived demand and natural product life cycles. Product maturity will support an accelerated pace of IPv6 adoption in many organizations and industries.

These four major catalysts are likely to bring the IPv6 adoption to the tipping point sometime in 2008. There are, however, much bigger forces that drive the adoption. The IP challenges must not be looked at in isolation; they have repercussions throughout the protocol stack. The continued evolution of the data link layer protocols and their adoption is highly dependent on IP's ability to deliver services to their users. At the same time, new IP services such as those requiring symmetrical bandwidth at the access layer continue to stimulate the development of the Layer 2 technologies. The application layer is seeing an explosion in the number of new types of applications, such as collaboration, Web 2.0/3.0, peer-to-peer, and quad play services with migration from analog TV to digital TV to HDTV. These applications demand more from the IP infrastructure, and their evolution and growth depends on the flexibility of IP and the availability of IP resources. All the innovation happening at the layers above and below IP represents a major driver for IPv6 adoption.

Whether publicized, overpublicized, or not mentioned at all in the press, IPv6 planning and deployment activities are in progress throughout the world. In 2007, there were already service providers that individually claimed over 2,000,000 IPv6 subscribers.

Futuristic Perspective

From the start, our goal was to provide a balanced view about the value of IPv6, in spite of our passion for the subject of IPv6 adoption. The market analysis stayed focused on the opportunities that have been implemented and, as the case studies show, the stage was offered to both early adopters and to those who expect several more years to pass before they will deploy IPv6. It is, however, tempting to try to look further into the future, so we will take this last opportunity to do so.

In his 1957 book The Naked Sun, Isaac Asimov speculated that in a distant future people would not meet in person anymore but would instead communicate via "holographic telepresence." The Internet Protocol helped partially materialize that prediction three millennia earlier here on Earth instead of on Asimov's planet of Solaria, by supporting the telepresence applications that give video communication a "human feel." This is just the beginning, because, despite being the narrow portion of Deering's hourglass, IP will continue to support a rich, fast-paced, and innovative environment for implementing new services and applications.

This is particularly the case in an environment free of NAT. How many more of the applications used in Asimov's futuristic cities became or will become reality because of IP? In a not distant future, our environment and our health will be monitored through networked sensors and our vehicles will be true networks in motion. Web 2.0 will take the Internet past the threshold of a massively adopted technology worldwide. The communication among all devices will take place over converged IP networks that will facilitate virtualization of resources and devices. And for all these things to happen at the envisioned scale, here on Earth or over there on Solaria, we need more IP addresses. We need IPv6.

There are many problems that need to be resolved in order to scale up and to increase the capabilities of an all-IP world. For now, the most-pressing, most-limiting factor is the lack of IPv4 address resources, and the solution is available with IPv6. With plenty of addresses available to sustain the growth of the IP world, the engineers can start to focus on solving the other technical challenges such as routing, QoS, and security. This is a natural process for any protocol that is still alive and still evolving. At the same time, sociologists can and should start to focus on making sure that all these advancements in communications and applications do not push us too close to the habits of Asimov's Solarian society.

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