Internet Society Hosts IP Version 6 Launch Party. Is Your Company Ready for the Switch?
The Internet Protocol (you may be familiar with the term IP address, or Internet Protocol address) is the gateway to Internet traffic, keeping all lines clear and direct. The current version of the IP being used is known as version 4; however, even though the Internet has only celebrated about thirty birthdays, IPv4 is running out of available space. This is similar to running out of available phone numbers. To take care of this problem, version 6—IPv6—has been created.
In the updated version of IP, the Internet will be able to support all kinds of new devices and addresses. This may, in fact, be the biggest change in the Internet since its creation. This transition over from IP4 to IP6 is not one that is done automatically, however. It is up to individual companies to make the switch themselves. In fact, there is quite a bit of controversy over when this switch needs to occur. According to William Jackson of Government Computer News, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 "has a long way to go, especially in [the US]" due to shortages of IT professionals. Yet, Zach Walton of WebProNews claims that IPv6 will "soon usurp IPv4 and become the new standard." As an IT expert, though, he knows a bit more about the importance of IPv6 than, say, many small business owners.
What if we don't switch manually?
What happens is that, because they will be working off IPv4, site visitors will be forced to go through a system of transition gateways to get to the IP4 sites from their IPv6 positions. The result could be reduced customer service due to potentially slower connection speeds. Anytime you introduce another connection point, you risk slower downloads.
On June 8, 2011, there was a trial-run of sorts for the IPv6 program to reassure Internet users that the IPv6 would not, in fact, “break” the Internet. The operation was marginally successful. It proved that the system worked. However, since the participants only turned on the system for a 24 hour period, it was not effective in the long-term. Until now.