Laziness in IPv6 uptake may cost Britain the internet!

Whilst a slightly over-dramatic headline, British deployment of the new IPv6 is lagging behind the rest of the world in the transition from existing IPv4 systems – which may hamper the ability to offer innovative services.

A study, commissioned by UK regulator Ofcom, says: “The UK is lagging behind other areas of the world in relation to the transition to IPv6 and continuing reliance on the existing IPv4 system of addresses.”

The most common way of looking at IP addresses - is as a “postal system” - with every connected device having an address on the internet. When IPv4 was conceived in the 1970s, it provided over 4,000 million addresses – these are now running out.

The UK appears to be "avoiding the cost of deploying IPv6 regardless of the circumstances." In fact, none of the UK’s biggest ISPs are offering an IPv6 service at the time of the study.

IPv6 allows, brace yourself for this number, a total of 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses – an exhaustive number required to deal with the (only increasing) rise of the internet, and in particular, connected devices.

One of the hottest, if not most, trends in the technology world right this second is that of the “Internet of Things” – a concept where every device is connected to the internet and can be controlled, occasionally autonomously, through the web.

If the UK wants to be competitive on an international-scale, it’s imperative IPv6 is rolled out sooner rather than later.

The 80-page study (PDF), undertaken by ICom, predicts IPv6 and IPv4 will co-exist for "the foreseeable future" and there are a number of ways in which devices operating with the different protocols could communicate with one another – but this could present network security vulnerabilities.

One of the technologies ISPs are using to maximise IPv4 is CGN (Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation) but “from all indications, it appears that CGN cannot provide the necessary long term solution that IPv6 offers".

What do you think about Britain’s lack of readiness regarding IPv6?

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