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Why is the Internet of Things (IoT) fuelling the adoption of IPv6?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is fuelling a second digital revolution in which devices equipped with sensors are connected over the Internet, sharing data real-time. Whilst this revolution is only just beginning, there is huge potential for a range of applications and economic opportunities that enterprise organisations are exploiting, most notability in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. For example, allowing goods to be manufactured more efficiently through the use of sensors on production line equipment which is connected back to supply chain organisations.

This second digital revolution is underpinned by IPv6 which until recently has seen little traction in the enterprise mainly due to solutions such as Network Address Translation (NAT). The depletion of IPv4 network addresses is a result in part to the IoT, which means enterprises should get prepared for the deployment of IPv6, otherwise they risk being left behind thus impacting future growth potential.

Migration to IPv6 is complex with many factors to be considered in preparation for enabling dual-stack (IPv4 and IPv6 protocols operating in parallel):

  1. It is important to perform an inventory of your environment to understand which devices, operating systems and applications are able to support the IPv6 protocol and those that can’t.
  2. Understand the cost of upgrading network components, software and coding of legacy applications to support the new protocol. It may be more cost efficient to replace your legacy applications altogether.
  3. Design a new IPv6 addressing schema that is aligned to your current network architecture and potential future growth.
  4. Carefully plan the migration to IPv6, breaking the work down into simplified manageable groups of devices or services e.g. prioritising public Internet-facing services.
  5. You also need to verify the capabilities of your Internet and Wide Area Network Service Providers to ensure that they can support IPv6 natively on their networks.
  6. Analyse carefully any security and performance concerns and implement appropriate solutions to prevent confidential data breaches as well as ensure optimal performance to IPv6-enabled apps.

Whilst the transition to IPv6 is not straightforward, it will set your enterprise up for the next digital revolution. So start planning your IPv6 deployment now!