What is IPv6?
IPv6 is the next generation Internet protocol. The most widely used protocol at present is IPv4 which is 32bit. IPv6 is 128 bit which allows for a practically unlimited number of IP addresses. (IPv4 provided 4.2 billion addresses, IPv6 will provide approximately 340 undecillion or 3.4×10^38 address )

Why is IPv6 required?
The available pool of IPv4 addresses has run out. IPv6 is required to provide more addresses and capabilities to continue the development of the Internet.

Will IPv6 replace IPv4?
Yes, in the medium term. Investment in existing IPv4 infrastructure is considerable. A gradual adoption of IPv6 over 10 to 15 years is expected, and IPv4 infrastructure will exist beyond that timeframe. Over time new services will be available on IPv6 which will not be available using IPv4.

What happened to IPv5 ?
IPv5 (Internet Protocol, version 5) was assigned to an experimental protocol called ST (Internet Stream Protocol). It is not for general purpose use.

What is the purpose of the IPv6 Taskforce?
To promote adoption of IPv6 throughout the Internet user community in New Zealand

Are IPv6 Networks easier to manage?
IPv6 networks are different to manage, especially for large networks as the protocol includes auto configuration, removes the requirement for NAT and enables a simpler operating model.

Is IPv4 expiry like Y2K?
No, nothing will stop working when the IPv4 address base expires. Soon however there will be services, or places on the internet which are difficult or impossible to reach without IPv6

What will happen when IPv4 addresses are no longer available?
New devices, including computers, mobile phones, network equipment etc will be manufactured with IPv6 incorporated & will require IPv6 networks to support them. Existing IPv4 devices will continue to work on the existing internet, but are unlikely to be able to communicate with new IPv6 devices and applications.

Is IPv6 more secure than IPv4?
IPv6 includes IPSEC within the protocol, so depending on the network infrastructure, may offer some security enhancements over IPv4. IPv6 is not significantly more secure than IPv4. It is however slightly different, and existing firewalls and security practices will need to be checked to ensure that they work with IPv6.

Is the change from IPv4 to IPv6 an event?
No, the change may take many years depending on your own situation and requirements. The general approach is one of adoption as opposed to mass migration or change out.

How can I learn about IPv6?
A number of Training service providers run courses, the content of which is targeted at Executives through to Technicians.  Online courses are also available. There is a considerable amount of material freely available on the internet. Additionally a number of Training service providers run courses

What will IPv6 cost?

The cost of adopting IPv6 will depend on the timeframe over which the adoption occurs. Providing the adoption plan is created early enough to synchronise with normal technology and application refresh cycles, then the cost may be very small. On the other hand, if the changeover is compressed at a later point in time, then it is likely cost (and risk) will also increase.

Where should Enterprises start?
The Taskforce recommends appointing a champion and becoming aware of what the impact of IPv4 exhaustion will be on your operation and when.  This will enable consideration of transition options and timing that will include your unique situation. The Taskforce can provide access to Technical experts, Training providers and a soon to be launched IPv6 service provider directory.

What should be our top priority?
In terms of capability, for many organizations their Public facing websites will be the first to be converted to IPv6 or dual stack. Other essential activities to progress include, Network audit, Including IPv6 in Procurement processes, Creation of an adoption strategy & plan and of course training/knowledge uplift.

What are the main issues faced when adopting IPv6?
The main issue facing organisations is gaining the required knowledge to make a smooth IPv6 adoption.  This may include knowledge transfer for key staff members in addition to an audit of existing equipment to ensure IPv6 compliance.

Are there any deadlines for adoption of IPv6?
“No, the rate of adoption is determined by the infrastructure owner. Business and operating requirements will drive the adoption rate ( eg Website traffic access, requirement for innovation platform )”

Is NAT ( Network address Translation) required when using IPv6?
No, NAT was created to defer the issue of IPv4 address expiry.

Are IPv4 skills transferable to IPv6?
Yes, all indications are that the more people understand about IPv4, the easier it is to acquire the required knowledge and skills to work with IPv6.

Where do we start ?
A great way to start is to increase general awareness via the internet. If you’re a medium to large sized organisation it will probably be necessary to appoint an IPv6 champion and allocate some funds to initial training and strategic planning.

As an internet user, will IPv4 address exhaustion affect me?
As a user of the Internet, you will not really notice the effect of IPv4 exhaustion in the near future. It will not make any significant difference to you whether you access the Internet using an IPv6 or an IPv4 address. In the future there may be parts of the Internet that you cannot reach if the destination is an IPv6-only network and your ISP does not provide its customers with IPv6 addresses

As a public facing Web-site owner, will IPv4 address exhaustion affect me?
Yes, if your website receives traffic from emerging IPv6-using populations, such as those in China and India or other nations that are adopting IPv6, then those populations will be unable to connect with your IPv4 website.

I am a home internet user, I want to know more, where can I get help?
In the first instance you should use the Web and sites like this one to increase your knowledge of IPv6 and the emerging related products and services. Queries regarding your internet connection should be directed to your ISP.

I am a SME or large enterprise, where can I get help?
Visit our IPv6 directory page. This contains a  comprehensive list of New Zealand-based vendors, trainers, consultants, service providers and integrators who can help with your IPv6 planning and adoption.

Do all user devices (Windows PCs, Macs, iPads, Android devices) come with IPv6 support?
Within the last year (2011-12) the default support within operating systems has increased to a level where it can be expected that users will be capable of adopting IPv6. The following page has a comparison of major PC and mobile operating systems and their level of IPv6 support:

Do all ISP-supplied routers and all retail routers come with IPv6 support?
We have been seeing a pleasing increase in the number of DSL type residential gateway devices with IPv6 support. There is some more work needed in this area, but on the whole if you have a recent DLink or Linksys device then it should support IPv6.

Do all ISPs support IPv6? If not, when?
Not all of them do. But enough do within New Zealand for there to be a market across all levels. For a number of years there has been an IPv6 question in the Department of Statistics ISP Survey:

The June 2011 survey has the following observation “At June 2011, 30 percent of ISPs already had IPv6 available to subscribers, 45 percent intended to have it available within two years and a further 10 percent within four years. Fifteen percent of ISPs had no plans to make it

Tell me why I should care, and what are the consequences of not having IPv6 support:
The hard thing about IPv6 adoption is that there is no hard-date. It’s not like y2k where we had a date to work to.  The time when IPv6 is going to matter to you is going to be different for everyone.

There are people for whom it matters today.  Similarly there are people for whom it will be 10 years before it matters. The thing that the New Zealand IPv6 Task Force has been focussed on is ensuring that if the time comes when you do care, that the barriers to adopting IPv6 have been lowered by all our hard work along the way.

Here is an example of why someone might care:

Much has been made of the fact that IPv4 addresses have been exhausted within the Asia Pacific region. Thats not such a problem for a small New Zealand business.  They might never need anymore addresses.  It is tempting for them to put IPv6 out of their minds and focus on IPv4.
The problem however is that there are parts of the region where this IS a huge problem.  China and India have a gigantic Internet growth curve.  There are hundreds of ISPs starting up in those countries each week and each of them can only have 1000 IPv4 addresses each.  They can however have millions more many IPv6 addresses.  These new networks are being deployed with a preference on IPv6.

Now again, why do you care in New Zealand?  Well imagine that you are trying to do business with people in China and India.  IPv4 and IPv6 networks are largely incompatible, so a user in India on IPv6 will not be able to talk to a user in New Zealand on IPv4. We are seeing a growing interest in the New Zealand export sector when it comes to IPv6 adoption.  They don’t want a huge proportion of their target market to go dark.

So you can see, it’s not always about when your network will need IPv6, but more about a large part of the rest of the internet adopting. As a colleague said recently “It’s not about if you need IPv6 or not. It’s about if you’d like to continue to be able to talk to the WHOLE
Internet or not”.


  1. Pushing it uphill with IPv6 | New Zealand IPv6 Task Force - 19. Aug, 2011

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