IPV6 Adoption Is the Key to the Next Big Thing on the Internet

All of the big studies in technology are agreeing on the necessity of IPV6. Besides being mandatory to create enough addresses for the growing global web, it also offers simpler protocols with increased security, raising the ceiling on connection limitations. The new and promising industry where this is most exposed and most important is with the Internet of Things (IoT). Frustratingly, IPV6 adoption is only at 10 percent globally. Big changes need to happen before widespread advances in IoT will be possible.

What Is IoT

For those unfamiliar, here is a quick recap of IoT. IoT enables devices of almost every kind to have server and internet connectivity for better integration and data mining. This means devices from refrigerators to traffic lights can be observed with the same level of analysis as Google keywords, giving manufacturers and developers unprecedented feedback that they can use to better their craft. IoT is a huge part of discussion in the tech world, and every industry wants to get involved.

How does IPV6 fit into this? In short, all of these additional devices need IP addresses and communication protocol. IPV4 is just not equipped to handle it. For starters, North America has no free IPV4 addresses left. Anyone who wants to stick to this protocol has to buy an address that has already been used, and this cost is quickly moving to outweigh the costs of implementing IPV6. More importantly, IPV6 enables faster and more seamless communication between multiple IPs, which is something IoT desperately needs.

The Major Barriers

There are two major factors that slow the rate of IPV6 adoption. First and foremost is cost. Changing protocols is expensive because every device along the communication chain needs to be updated. Compare this to another recent overhaul: HTML5. YouTube was able to make the switch fairly painless for the rest of the world primarily because their servers were able to handle the bulk of the upgrade. While they took care of everything server side, end users only needed an update to their browser that could handle HTML5. With IPV6, every router, hub, operating system, server and repeater needs to be able to understand the protocol change, which is a major undertaking.

The second barrier is visibility. Early IPV6 adopters risk being invisible to 90 percent of the internet, which for most content providers and businesses is unacceptable. Even worse, many IPV6 addresses can ultimately be unreachable by other pieces of the IPV6 network because of failed upgrades between points. This means that upgrading to IPV6 requires having dual IPs for the foreseeable future, which is increasingly difficult.

Eventually the necessity of IPV6 will accelerate adoption. Until then, the grind will remain.

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