Should Webhosts worry about IPv6?(I/III)

Well, if your already setup, then you wont have to worry too much. At the current rate, the general opinion is that new hosts will have to be assigned IPv6 addresses by 2012(if the world doesn’t end).

So if those hosts wish to communicate with the other IPv4 servers, using the IPv4 network infrastructure, hosts will have to start understanding both IPv4 and IPv6.

At least till the transition is complete. To make the transition as smooth as possible, various transition mechanisms have been put forward, of which RFC 4213(Basic Transition Mechanisms for IPv6 Hosts and Routers) will make an interesting read for any Webhost who plans to buy servers after 2012. More after the jump.

Why IPv6?

When I bought my first PC, a friend of mine said “A 2GB HDD?? What are you going to do with all that space? Its going to be a waste!”. Well, that was before someone invented a lossy data compression method called MPEG-2 Audio Layer III.

Thats pretty much whats happening with IPv4 addresses. Mobile devices now do more than just make calls, various services requiring the device to have its own IP address.

Virtualization technologies have allowed single physical hosts to host multiple servers, each requiring their own blocks of address. Always-on broadband connections, inefficient address use and basically just more people on the net, have all led to IP address usage far exceeding the expectations when IPv4 was first developed.

Besides various other security and QoS enhancements, a jump from 32bit to 128bit addresses is the most significant, or the most needed, change in Internet Protocol version 6.

What will I have to change?

The mechanisms in this document are designed to be employed by IPv6 hosts and routers that need to inter-operate with IPv4 hosts and utilize IPv4 routing infrastructures. We expect that most nodes in the Internet will need such compatibility for a long time to come, and perhaps even indefinitely. – quote from RFC4213

That last line is quite comforting, it lets you know that not many people expect the transition to be complete. IPv4 maybe be around longer, much much longer.

But if you purchase hosts after 2012, you’ll most probably get an IPv6 address(es). Two mechanisms put forward by RFC4213 to help with the transitions are dual stack and configured tunneling.

Neither of which you will have to worry about, as they will be taken care of by either your OS or DC. Most OSes today that support IPv6 implement a hybrid IPv4-IPv6 stack.

However something that may effect you directly is IPv6 address resolution. i.e. Getting your nameservers to handle IPv6 address, and that will be what I’ll be talking about in my post next week. Check back for other interesting posts from my fellow bloggers.



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