I'll Stick with IPv4 for Now, Thank You

FRAMINGHAM (03/10/2000) - I don't get it. Maybe it's because I'm over 40 and the brain cells are dying, but there are many things happening today in the world of technology that I just don't understand. Take IPv6, for example. I just don't get it. Why in the world would I be interested in investing the time, money and effort it is going to take to convert my IPv4 networks to IPv6?

At one time I was very interested in IPv6. It was going to solve many of my network problems. The extended address space would spare me from having to create and maintain a variable-length, bit-level subnet addressing scheme. The built-in authentication and security would let me sleep better at night, knowing that only secure and authenticated packets were entering my networks.

The quality of service (QoS) would enable me to fully integrate my voice and data over IP.

But then a crisis happened - I ran out of time. I needed IPv6 two years ago, and it wasn't there. And I couldn't wait any longer. So I did what everyone else in the world was doing: I integrated a variety of IPv4-based products and services into my network.

My address needs were met by migrating my network to an RFC 1918-compliant unregistered IP address. I now have IP addresses galore and can use a very simplistic subnet-masking scheme to segment and identify my networks by building and floor. My network technicians can tell from the second and third octet exactly where a device is located.

For security, I chose a firewall with features that, when combined with the appropriate access control lists,ensure the integrity of both incoming and outgoing transmissions. I implemented a combination of Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service and Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol to ensure that local, Internet-based and remote dial-in connections are granted only to authenticated users with the appropriate access levels. And for encrypting sensitive documents and files, I implemented PGP - inexpensive, easy and best of all, it works!

My QoS needs were met by a combination of bigger pipes and faster equipment.

100Base-T and 1000Base-T Ethernet give me more than enough bandwidth, and the advances in Application Specific Integrated Circuit technology ensure that packet serialization delay is kept to a minimum. For the more stringent QoS I may need in the coming years, I have a plethora of IPv4-based choices, including policy-based networking, Differentiated Services, TCP rate shaping and the old standby, ATM.

So here I am, manager of an IPv4-based network that works fine, is addressed in a logical and easy-to-maintain manner, is secure, and integrates my voice and data. I just don't see any need to convert my functional IPv4 network to IPv6.

Final note: The above are my thoughts today. After being in this business for more than 15 years and seeing technologies advance and business needs change, I've learned one thing: never say never. So if you hear of me converting all of my IPv4 networks to IPv6 in the next two years, don't be too harsh. Remember - I'm very open-minded!

Yoke is an IS manager in Denver. He can be reached at ckyoke@yahoo.com.

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