A vision for IPv6 enterprise

Without much fanfare, stock exchange opening bells and stuff like that, IPv6 protocol stack made it to all major computing platforms. In Windows XP Service Pack 1, fully supported IPv6 stack replaced previous experimental version (which is also available for Windows 2000); it was also integrated in Windows Server 2003 and is available for Windows CE. IPv6 is available (and probably supported) in recent versions of RedHat Enterprise Linux (kernel 2.6-based), and in Solaris for a long while. Cisco IOS and other operating systems running on network equipment also support IPv6. The protocol has arrived.

Here’s how IPv6 enterprise will look like:

  • Enterprise firewalls – gone. They are dinosaurs right now, and it’s long past the ice age;
  • Enterprise access/VPN gateways – gone. Enterprises will utilise assigned, Internet-addressible address space;
  • Access to the enterprise servers will be controlled using IPsec host authentication mechanism. Public services won’t require authentication; whereas internal services will require both user (traditional) and system (IPsec AH) authentication;
  • Computers will use keys stored in TPM (Trusted Platform Module) to authenticate aganst corporate IPv6 infrastructure services;
  • Network QoS (Quality of Service) won’t happen… again. In past there were too many issues integrating transport-layer QoS protocols with applications up the OSI stack, and increased bandwidth was always the answer. That won’t change, and QoS will remain limited at most.

Pretty cool, huh? 

When enterprises will move to IPv6 en masse is everyone’s guess. I think the change will come from telcos providing services to consumers – all the world is potential customers, and the telcos already facing limitations in both address space available (including private), and gateway capacity between their private and public networks. IPv6 will solve both issues. Switching enterprises across takes retiring support for IPv4…

Some IPv6 resources:

  1. http://microsoft.com/ipv6
  2. http://www.ipv6style.jp – Japanese are heaps ahead with this
  3. http://www.ipv6.org.au – I finance this with my taxes… Which makes it personal!

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