Over the last few years, networks have begun the shift from the five decade old IPv4 architecture to the newer IPv6 system. While the number of addresses available to IPv4 was massive at the time, the new system will provide so many addresses that it's possible to assign a unique address to every atom on the planet. But that shift has resulted in another change. Threat actors now have new ways to potentially attack systems. Wesley George, Principal Engineer at Neustar, and I discussed what this means for today's network managers.
Tagged With ipv6
One of the topics readers suggested I look into while at Cisco Live! this week was what was happening with the uptake of IPv6. The short answer? Not much.
Despite its benefits take up of IPv6 has been slow, and many sysadmins disable it by default. That's a bad idea, since there is no easy way to change the setting back automatically across multiple machines.
We have had occasion in the past to lament the relatively low uptake of IPv6 to date, despite a growth in the number of connected devices. Analysis by Cisco suggests that this situation will improve somewhat in Australia, but even so less than half of all internet-connected devices worldwide will be IPv6-capable by 2017.
A footnote to our earlier discussion on why IPv6 hasn't been widely adopted: the numbering of the newer version is clearly designed to suggest that it's an improved successor to IPv4. But is that name actually logical and helpful?
We've known for decades that the available pool of IPv4 address was eventually going to dry up, but despite numerous warnings usage of its successor IPv6 is still minimal. Why haven't we migrated yet? Geoff Huston, chief scientist for regional internet registry APNIC, suggests that the answer is that carriers are too cheap to make the switch and are happy to rely on network address translation (NAT) systems instead.
In preparation for World IPv6 Day, Google has set up a simple test page to allow users to check whether or not their current browsers, systems and networks are set up to handle the impending changeover.
Whether you are running your own home web server, need to remotely access your machine, or even were just curious, you may have found the need to find your system's current external IP address. Many people use whatismyip.com to find out this information, but over the past few years I've been using an alternative service named icanhazip.com.
One of the reasons people resist changing over to IPV6 is a fear that their favourite sites and resources may become inaccessible. If you're curious about whether a given site is accessible via IPv6, a simple search using this CGI script developed by engineer Mark Prior will tell you if its server has an IPv6 option, and whether it supports the protocol for other options such as SMTP for mail.
We'll soon have exhausted all the available IPv4 addresses, but that doesn't mean that everyone needs to freak out or buy new routers before the year is out. Lifehacker sat down with Internode founder Simon Hackett to get the inside track on why most Australians don't need to worry about the IPv6 issue for another decade.