Here’s an example of a basic IPv6 adoption approach: After taking inventory and establishing a customized roadmap, a basic adoption approach could look like this:
Phase 1: Start with Internet-facing services (2011)
This phase uses dual-stack to maintain full IPv4 functionality, while establishing an IPv6 Internet presence. The implementation should start with external-facing connectivity — addressing Internet connectivity, reach to users, partners and suppliers, and mobile endpoints. The capability for IPv6 is brought into data centers and hosted sites. The impact focuses on security, impacting firewalls, Web servers, router Internet service provider ISP, and Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Phase 2: Enable internal users to access IPv6 Internet (2011-2012)
After IPv6 has been enabled externally, the next step would be to deploy it internally, allowing internal users to access v6 on more endpoints and talk inside the network. Tunneling mechanisms or Proxy servers can provide a way for IPv4 users on the private network to access the IPv6 Internet.
Phase 3: Migrate wide area network WAN to dual-stack. (2012-2013)
In this next phase, IPv6 support is extended to remote locations. This is the final phase in the bilingual approach. Private internal networks become IPv6 capable, including (multiprotocol label switching) MPLS/ VPN, routers and private lines. Mobility and unified communications applications are moved to dual-stack. Depending on their specific needs, organizations can choose to remain phased for some time, fully enabled on both protocols.
Phase 4: Application migration (2013-2016)
Similar to Y2K, phase four4 impacts the applications and screens, such as reporting tools. All internal application and network management tools will be migrated to a purely IPv6 protocol.
Phase 5: Complete move to IPv6 (2014-2020)
In this final phase, the goal is for IPv6 to exist end-to-end. Organizations Companies will likely still need accessibility to IPv4 Internet endpoints that could remain in existence for a long time. This will likely be done via IPv6 to IPv4 Network Address Translation (NAT) functions, which reside at your DMZ or are provided for you as part of your service.
Tom Siracusa is an executive director at AT&T Laboratories with more than 23 years of experience in data network design and performance analysis at AT&T. Siracusa works on AT&T’s VPN Strategy with an emphasis on enterprise customer design and strategy. He focuses on cloud computing, IPv6, MPLS and class-of-service/quality-of-service issues that allow for the support voice, video, data and cloud services.