IPv4 to IPv6: Not a simple migration

When the Internet Engineering Task Force finalized the IPv6 standard, experts thought the transition from IPv4 would be relatively smooth — similar to an operating system upgrade — but that's not the way it turned out.

"The further you get into the protocol the more you realize it's not a simple migration from one to the other. It's a completely new protocol," said Bruce Fleming, divisional technology officer for Verizon Federal Network Systems. "In the literature, they say it's an easy migration, but don't believe it."

Those organizations that make the transition will at some point have to deal with one or more of the following scenarios:

Dual stacks. Both IPv4 and IPv6 are supported on the same network, allowing an end user to receive IP traffic originating on either an IPv4 or IPv6 network. If the configuration is done correctly, the end user won't know the difference. Equipment vendors are now starting to support dual stacks. Siemens Subscriber Networks recently introduced dual-stack functionality for its tango Access broadband client for Microsoft Corp. Windows, and router vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc. have included IPv6 support in their systems for some time.

Tunneling. This function allows IPv6 packets to run over an IPv4 network by encapsulating IPv6 packets inside IPv4 packets or Multiprotocol Label Switching frames.

Translation. In this approach, traffic that originates under one protocol is converted into the other. It is used in situations in which IPv4 traffic must be converted to run on newer devices or when an organization has moved to IPv6 but still has IPv4 systems to support.

Whatever scenario is used, the transition must be transparent to end users, said Charles Lynch, chief of the IPv6 Transition Office in the Defense Information Systems Agency.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group