IPv6 Readiness: Challenges and Deployment Strategies

    Incognito Software, a global provider of broadband device provisioning, IP address management, bandwidth monitoring, and service activation solutions, released the findings from its recent “IPv6 Readiness” survey, which examines both current and future IPv6 deployment strategies for cable, wireless and wireline operators worldwide. The survey results found that only a small percentage of respondents are IPv6-ready and even fewer are offering IPv6 to their end users, due in large part to challenges operators face with infrastructure upgrades, compatible device support and customer education. Despite these challenges, the survey found that three-quarters of respondents do recognize the importance of IPv6 and have begun planning for it within their organizations.

    With the Internet rapidly running out of IPv4 addresses, Incognito Software fielded the “IPv6 Readiness” survey to better understand the industry’s level of preparedness for adopting this new protocol, and its plans for the next two years. To obtain a comprehensive view, the company polled 51 cable, wireless and wireline operators of varying sizes – ranging from regional players with up to 30,000 subscribers to large operators with more than one million subscribers – and included operators across North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

    IPv6 Readiness: Challenges and Deployment Strategies - slide 1

    Click through for findings from an IPv6 readiness survey conducted by Incognito Software.

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    Out of options

    Most operators are transitioning to IPv6 because they have no other options. Eighty-three percent of respondents actively involved in IPv6 planning or deployments – both globally and across operators of varying sizes – are doing so because they are simply running out of IPv4 resources.

    A lack of trust in the Network Address Translation (NAT) protocol, designed to allow multiple devices to connect to a public network with the same IPv4 address, is the second most pressing concern, representing 40 percent of respondents.

    In third place, 30 percent of respondents cited lower long-term costs as being a primary driver of their IPv6 deployments.

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    CPE upgrades

    Customer premise equipment (CPE) upgrades top the list of IPv6 challenges. For companies that have completed, are mid-adoption or in the planning stages of their IPv6 transition, “CPE upgrades” and “lack of device support” are tied as the greatest challenges to adoption (50 percent).

    Educating customers ranked second (39 percent) as a large hurdle for deployment.

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    IPv6 Roll Out

    IPv6 adoption does not happen overnight, but most operators are optimistic about their roll-out schedules. Deployment timelines vary widely among companies, suggesting there is no “silver bullet” for adoption.

    • Nearly 34 percent of companies currently in the process of adopting IPv6 expect to complete their roll-out within a year.
    • Thirty-three percent of companies that are currently in the process of adopting IPv6 expect to finish their adoptions within two years.

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    Executive Buy-in

    Executive buy-in is a key driver of IPv6. IPv6 adoption is highest among organizations where there has been an executive mandate set in place, and its success rate is directly correlated to the degree of interest shown by company management. Nearly half of organizations that are already IPv6 ready (43 percent) have acknowledged C-Level support as a primary motivator.

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    Dual-stack method prevails

    Dual-stack is still the preferred method of transition for most service providers. Nearly 90 percent of respondents selected this option (where IPv4 and IPv6 run parallel to each other) as their preferred method of IPv6 adoption, which is unsurprising due to the high number of IPv4-enabled devices currently available on the market.

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    “As service providers continue to search for ways to stretch their existing IPv4 resources, they are unearthing the reality that the industry’s increasing number of subscribers, devices and services make the need for IPv6 simply unavoidable,” said Stephane Bourque, president and CEO of Incognito Software. “Investing in a robust IP address management solution is important for operators who need to stay up-to-date on existing IP assignments and available addresses – especially for those who are using dual-stack methods to complete their deployments – so they can both attract new subscribers and anticipate potential conflicts before they cause serious issues for their existing users.”

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