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As is the case with most enterprises, a new technology or protocol is valuable only as long as it helps end users accomplish their day-to-day tasks. At the same time, it is misguided to wait for a "killer application" (because nobody knows about it before it becomes so successful that everybody runs it). The IT team looks into IPv6 for its currently available and upcoming products and features as advertised by vendors. It maps them to its business needs with the following key objectives in mind:
Learn the technology to understand its impact on network design and operations, identify the benefits of integrating it, and evaluate the pros and cons. Evaluate the potential cost of deployment. In this aspect, IPv6 differs from other new network technologies because it impacts all aspects of networking: applications, operating systems, routers and switches, firewall, management, and so on.
Identify the actual missing pieces, either from the technology or its implementationif anyto gauge the potential limitations of its integration and define the rules and timing of deployment. This includes areas such as multihoming, security, and management policies.
Ensure AC competitiveness in countries where the deployment of IPv6 is a nationwide initiative. One of the successes of the AC Corporation was its early adoption of e-Commerce with partners and customers. Fast adoption of IPv6 in some countries must not take AC by surprise and change its business flow.
Take advantage of basic IPv6 features such as larger address space and autoconfiguration for usages such as the following:
- Addressing devices with multiple embedded access technologies (Ethernet, WiFi, and so on). Proliferation of networking access technologies on new-generation PCs generates an increase in the IP address consumption on a campus network configured with DHCP. Devices with multiple wireless and fixed networking interfaces are a growing trend. The support team was already intervening when a local address pool of IPv4 addresses was not large enough. Such issues are not relevant with IPv6 because the host portion is the 64 bits of the interface ID.
- AC regularly acquires and merges small businesses at a local level. Renumbering is always problematic when resources must be shared but may have been configured with private addresses overlapping with those already used in AC network. The AC IT team wants to understand the benefit of IPv6 addressing and renumbering to ease and avoid renumbering conflicts.
- Override the setup of private address space and NAT by allocating a global IPv6 address space (as explained in draft-ietf-v6ops-nap) to remote locations. Today, those locations must use NAT because of the broadband service conditions. This would enable the deployment of externally reachable application servers and ease remote support of hosts that are not always working transparently through NAT, through applications such as remote assistance. The AC IT team would welcome any decrease in support costs that IPv6 could offer.
Continue to take advantage of the expanding IP convergence on applications and usage in areas such as the following:
- TransportationExpanding Internet connectivity in AC trucks and ships to take advantage of the networks in motion concept, where a mobile router (for instance, a Cisco MAR 3200) handles the IP mobility of any attached device. This would enable AC to leverage the latest wireless technologies such as 3G, Edge, EVDO, public WiFi, WiMAX, when available.
- Video surveillance over IP for remote locations, such as storage areas.
- Mobile devices regularly used by employees, such as the new generation of smart phones and PDAs.
- Industrial tracking of goods with the networked evolution of sensors. An example is the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) to monitor and track the goods managed by the AC Corporation.
Keep the AC infrastructure secure. The AC IT team realizes that many IPv6 over IPv4 tunnels are available on dual-stack operating systems. It does not want its network security to be jeopardized by end users or applications that might configure such mechanisms. One might want to forbid and disable such features, but the AC IT team prefers to understand and manage a technology (not just disable things that might be bypassed later). They also understand that IPv6 cannot be integrated if it is not at least as secure as IPv4.
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