Watch out for IPv6 transition risks

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Monday, 7 February 2011

In January, the last major blocks of IPv4 addresses were handed out. Websites, mobile phones and computers use IPv4 addresses to connect, and it is likely that by the end of 2011, the supply will have been exhausted.

The crunch is coming because when IPv4 was designed in the 1970s, it was inconceivable that billions of devices would be connecting to one network. We now have such a network: the internet. The lack of new addresses will affect users and website providers alike.

The solution to the crunch is IPv6. Unlike IPv4, IPv6 is capable of connecting trillions upon trillions of devices, meaning thousands of devices can be connected even within one household.

Unfortunately, the transition to IPv6 is not so straightforward, because IPv4 and IPv6 are not directly compatible. The transition has been slowly underway for years, but will need to be pushed along very quickly as the crunch comes.

For IT departments and website providers, this means making sure that IPv6 risk is being managed correctly, in much the same way as the Y2K bug issue was managed in the late 1990s.

Read more at Security Week (opens in new window).

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