Getting Ready For IPv6

Your network has operated with an underlying technology called IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) for as long as you can remember. Now the time has come to transition to the next generation of IP, known as IPv6.

It works similarly to IPv4, but the two are not compatible. Experts say you can make IPv4 and IPv6 work together with no issues, but you need to take the necessary steps now to ensure a successful transition.

Everyone in an organization should be involved in the transition to IPv6, including security, hardware, systems personnel, operations, help desk, end users and sometimes even customers. Getting everyone on board will make the transition go much more smoothly.

To help you get started, there are some general pointers you should follow. The first step is to develop a strategy.

Ask your IT vendor or vendors to help you with this step. They have experience in this area and can save you a lot of time and effort.

The process is not that hard if you do the proper planning. It also does not have to cost your organization a significant amount of money. 

Before you begin the step-by step process of a transition, here are some considerations that are essential: 

•    Do not wait until it is a crisis to start your process—start now.
•    Roll out IPv6 gradually and in phases.
•    Dual stack works well as a transition mechanism.
•    Make sure your vendors offer full IPv6 support, indicated by a “USGv6-tested” or “IPv6-Ready” logo.
•    Training is key—and not just for your technical employees.
•    Do not use Network Address Translation (NAT) if it can be avoided.
•    Enable IPv6 for public-facing services first.
•    Plan security from the beginning. It should never be an afterthought.