In North America, IP addressing protocol is being handled by a stand-alone agency, the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), that provides services related to the technical coordination and management of Internet number resources in Canada and the United States. Internet Protocol defines how computers communicate over a network.
Virtually every computer and smartphone in the world that is connected to the Internet has a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address used to identify it. The current prevalent version, IP version 4 (IPv4), contains just over four billion unique IP addresses. With the rapid increase in the number of computers and Internet-capable wireless devices, available IP addresses will soon be depleted.
IP version 6 (IPv6) is a newer numbering system that will release exponentially more IP addresses for use.
The public Internet is beginning to transition from IPv4 to IPv6 to allow for continued Internet growth. IPv6 is a completely new protocol that is not compatible or inter-operable with IPv4. In the future, applications, services, and devices will need to be upgraded to ensure communication between both address versions.
Internet Service Providers (ISP), like SaskTel, and other organizations must upgrade to IPv6 in the next few years to continue to allow additional computers and devices to connect to the Internet. After upgrading to IPv6, existing IP addresses (IPv4) will continue to work but new devices will receive IP addresses under the new Internet Protocol - IPv6.
How will the transition to IPv6 affect you?
There will be no change in the way you access and use the Internet, as IPv6 will coexist with IPv4 for many years to come. Currently the few sites that are IPv6 only are mirror images of their IPv4 sites so consumers and businesses would see the same information on both.
IPv6 is no cause for concern, it is just important to be aware of the change.
How will the transition to IPv6 affect your business?
Businesses will not likely run out of IPv4 addresses for some time, but in the future you will need to enable IPv6 on your Internet presence (websites, content, applications) so that they are accessible by the oncoming IPv6 devices. Only business services that provide public Internet connectivity and content will be impacted by IPv6 (i.e. Dedicated Internet, web hosting, etc).
As well, the process and requirements for obtaining registered blocks of IPv6 addresses is different from the previous process and requirements in place for obtaining blocks of IPv4 addresses.
How many IPv4 addresses are left?
Currently, less than 5% of the 4 billion IPv4 addresses are unallocated. ARIN is operating in phase 2 of a 4 phase strategy to manage the remaining IPv4 addresses. Phase 2 means that for all business requests smaller than a 16 bit block the request process will be the same but for business requests greater than a 16 bit block the process will be different. With the rate of IPv4 address depletion, it is expected that ARIN will soon enter Phase 3 of its countdown plan. Learn more about the ARIN IPv4 Countdown Plan.
It is anticipated that both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses will co-exist for several years. This address change will affect every Internet user in the world and all Internet Service Providers (ISP), including SaskTel.
Here are some things you can do to help prepare your business for IPv6:
SaskTel has been planning for IPv6 for several years and is in the process of extending IPv6 into the network. SaskTel will work with your business to minimize the impact of the transition of our services to IPv6.
SaskTel has been planning and preparing the network for IPv6 for several years. SaskTel has completed dual-stacking the core IP network to support both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.
SaskTel is working to introduce IPv6 support into our applicable services, focusing first on business Internet services. There is also a plan in place to introduce IPv6 support to applicable consumer services when IPv4 addresses are depleted.
Timing and sequence of IPv6 roll-out on services will be aligned with industry IPv4 depletion and IPv6 adoption. SaskTel will be introducing IPv6 as required to products and services over the next few years by using transition options such as Dual Stack and the deployment of Network Address Translator (NAT). A NAT64 translator will allow IPv6 devices to be translated to connect with IPv4 content. A NAT44 translator will allow multiple subscribers to share a single IPv4 address, making better use of the limited supply of IPv4 addresses
After upgrading networks and services to IPv6, SaskTel will continue to run both address versions in parallel for years to come.