The pool for IPv4 is slated to run out in October, with Japan being awarded the last batch of v4 addresses. The shift from v4 to v6 is expected soon after and this has left networks vulnerable to technical glitches with a few machines as the transition period begins.
ISPs are refusing to comment on the number of v4 addresses still in their bank but there aren't too many to give away.
'Most of the ISPs in India are prepared to enable their network to support IPv6. However, it is an illusion to state that ISPs will migrate from IPv4. There won't be migration; rather it would be coexistence of both IPv4 as well IPv6. A dual stack strategy will be followed by all ISPs,' said Desi S Valli, Executive Director & COO, Net4 India. The transition will need Internet service providers to make capital investments and start increasing awareness for client migration.
A research paper published by HCL technologies said: As the enterprises plan to migrate from V4 to V6, which is fairly a complex migration than what is envisioned, enterprises will have to go through painful task of assessing not only their networking infrastructure but all what Operating system they're using (version, patches, etc.), and also assess the plethora of the applications which uses network infrastructure (native or browser based) so that they also comply to the changes in the V6 addressing scheme. Given the fact that the IT spend has been shrunk significantly over the last 2 years due to economic conditions, such kind of overhaul of the IT systems will require significant investment.
Internet users with operating systems without the ability to automatically adjust to the new version may experience technical difficulties while ISPs will have to train their existing support to handhold the users to adjust the settings.
'The overhaul will be limited to the extent that the dual stack support should be possible in the network,' said Valli.
Also being ignored largely by ISPs is the security loopholes that crop up. Majority of the bots command control attacks have originated through Ipv6 networks. The current network, allow for v6 packets to travel on the networks but are largely ignored by system administrators due to the absence of Ipv6 firewalls in v4-oriented networks. The packets flowing through a v4 network to a v6 creates a tunnel where the system, currently deployed, experts say, can't recognize vicious packets from the other.
'The various programs and proposals, which are oriented towards realizing the benefits of adopting IPv6, are more likely to succeed than those that require compliance. The threat perception is less compared to the Y2K-like scare, since there would be incumbents with IPv4 allocations who would trade them as valuable assets,' said Venki Nishtala, CTO, Rediff.com
'On the security side, it would be reasonable to assume that there would be newer exploits, the most common of which like denial of service... but it would be prudent to verify new implementations for security and utilize the native features like IPSec,' Nishtala explained. He also insisted that it the v6 network does not have inherent deficiencies that certain experts might like you to believe. But Arti Kanakia, Head, Marketing, Nokia Siemens Networks India disagrees.
'IPv6 also introduces new mechanisms, like auto-configuration, router renumbering or specific multicast groups that may be open to abuse by attackers, making it vital to configure and use them with care,' she said. But research and the proper way of use shouldn't be too far off with most enterprises already having switched to the new version.