Who's afraid of IPv4 address depletion? Apparently no one.

Network managers aren’t worried enough to migrate to IPv6, survey finds

Indeed, the Internet is littered with sites that show how many days are left until we run out of IPv4 addresses. The current estimate is around 1,600 days.

The Internet engineering community continues to push for IPv6. Earlier this week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) added support for IPv6 into half the Internet's root servers.

But the fear of IPv4 address depletion apparently hasn't caught on with most IT professionals.

"Over the last year, we've been hearing about IPv4 address depletion, but the survey shows that it's not having an impact," Blum says.

Folks who are concerned about IPv4 address depletion tend to work for carriers or extremely large organizations, the BT INS survey found. For instance, 32 per cent of the survey respondents who work for service providers and 29 per cent of those who work for companies with more than 100,000 IP addresses said IPv4 address depletion was a ``huge concern."

BT INS officials found even these responses lower than expected.

"I was surprised that only 32 per cent of service providers -- which are those organizations that are going to be impacted first by IPv4 address depletion -- are really concerned about it," says Tim Rooney, director of product management with BT Diamond IP, a division of BT that sells IP address management products. ``This mirrors what we're seeing here, which is low demand for our IPv6 products."

In general, Europeans are more concerned about IPv4 address depletion than Americans, with 24 per cent of survey respondents based in Europe saying that IPv4 address depletion is a "huge concern."

The reason why many IT professionals in North America aren't worried about IPv4 address depletion is that they were lucky enough to get large blocks of IP address space at the dawn of the Internet.

"IPv4 addresses aren't perishable. Once I have an IPv4 address, I have it. So unless or until I am expanding my network and I'm demanding more public IP address space, I probably don't perceive IPv4 address depletion as an issue," Rooney explains.

So far, few organizations have taken the plunge and begun upgrading their networks to support IPv6.

Only 2 per cent of IT professionals have migrated to IPv6 across their organizations, while 8 per cent are in the process of migrating to IPv6, the BT INS survey found.

BT INS said these findings are almost identical to a similar survey the company conducted in 2005.

"The survey results are not a whole lot different than they were two years ago," Blum says. "Back then, 11% of respondents said they had migrated or were in the process of migrating to IPv6. Now that number is 10 per cent."

Another 15 per cent of survey respondents said they will begin migrating to IPv6 within the next two years.

However, the majority of respondents have no plans to migrate to IPv6. Of these, 13% said they have assessed IPv6 and decided not to migrate for at least two more years. Another 33 per centsaid they are currently assessing IPv6 but no migration decision has been made. And 25 per cent said they have not even considered IPv6.

When asked why they are not migrating to IPv6, 40 per cent of survey respondents say that the new protocol offers "no compelling benefits."

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More about: Billion, BT, ICANN, IETF, INS, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Internet Engineering Task Force, PLUS, Rose, Transportation
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