Where to Go from Here

Although the industry has reached consensus regarding the inevitability of an IP upgrade, the time to start on that path is largely dependent on the market an organization belongs to, on its long-term vision, and on the national and international environment in which it operates. The timing of an IPv6 adoption is ultimately similar to that of adopting other technologies. It is the result of balancing the benefits and expenses of being an early adopter with the risks of being a late adopter. The important thing in the case of IPv6 is to realize that it is a foundational technology and the benefits or risks of adoption, although potentially significant, might be less apparent. This aspect of IPv6 and its adoption has been made clear by the complex market perception of and approach to the topic.

At the end of this book, if you feel better positioned to confidently define an IPv6 strategy for your organization or you are better informed to understand the reasoning behind IPv6-focused policies enforced within your organization, then this book has achieved its goals. The authors intend to bridge the gap between the technology and the business dimensions of IPv6 to shed some light on a technological evolution with potentially revolutionary business outcomes.

So what's next? A reader with a taste for technology can follow up with books focused on the protocol and its deployment such as Deploying IPv6 Networks by Cisco Press. Most importantly, you can analyze your organization's IPv6 requirements and apply some of the lessons learned here to the development of an IPv6 strategy that ensures its efficient, cost effective, and timely integration in the existing or next generation IP infrastructure.

CHAPTER 1

The Business and Economic Importance of IP

Communications

If there is one concept that embodies today's idea of the most complete information, the quickest access to the source of that information, and the movement of information, it is without a doubt the Internet. Its attraction to people of all ages, all social backgrounds, and from all parts of the world resides in its ability to be everything for everyone. The Internet's heterogeneous structure enables it to be a source of information, a source of entertainment, and a tool for business enhancement, growth, and development. Children and grandparents, workers, and CEOs are familiar with this concept and they all draw value from it in their own ways.

It is impossible to ignore the Internet's importance in our lives; at one level or another, and given its influence, it is impossible not to sense its business and economic impact. But, to capture all the things we often involuntarily wrap inside the single term "Internet," to get a better sense of its full value, we need to talk about its foundation, the Internet Protocol (IP) and IP communications in general.

The Internet has become the global fabric of business and personal communications. It has spawned new paradigms in the ways that people, devices, and information are connected and interact. So we thought it was worth taking the time to briefly review IP's multifaceted presence in our lives and its business and economic values.

As a decision maker, you are probably fully aware of IP's value to your business and your personal life, so you will relate closely to some of the examples presented throughout the book. Hopefully, the other examples will help you put IP into a larger perspective, help you see new opportunities for your organization, and help you better understand the need to continue to sustain IP's adoption and growth. A lot depends on IP networks and a lot can still be achieved through them.

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