Organisations failing to migrate to IPv6

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Migration to the new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) standard is virtually non-existent, according to a year-long study released this week by network security firm Arbor Networks.

Experts and governments have been encouraging organisations to migrate to the new protocol because the current 20 year-old IPv4 is fast running out of available addresses.

IPv4 addresses could in fact run out as early as 2010, according to Scott Iekel-Johnson, principle software engineer at Arbor Networks.

The firm used data from over 80 of its ISP partners and customers to determine the amount of IPv6 traffic on the internet.

Arbor Networks found that the proportions of IPv6 and IPv4 traffic have stayed roughly the same over the past year.

The report also found that IPv6 traffic is still a tiny percentage of overall internet traffic. There were 6Mbps of IPv6 traffic by the end of July compared to 4Tbps of IPv4 traffic.

"There is a lot of concern over how slow it is going," said Iekel-Johnson. " We really need the same level of functionality [in network infrastructure] to make IT departments' jobs more feasible, and ultimately this has to come from the vendors."

Jay Daley, IT director for .uk registry Nominet, argued that the business case for migration is even stronger for those organisations wishing to sell goods and services into developing countries.

"China, for example, is one of the biggest users of IPv6," he added. "So at some point your web site will only be accessible by developed countries still using IPv4, and you won't be able to sell your goods inwardly into developing countries."

Axel Pawlik, managing director for regional internet registry the RIPE Network Coordination Centre, argued that migration now will grant you more "freedom of movement and planning space", and probably end up cheaper than delaying until your organisation is forced to move to the new protocol.

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