The Transition to Ipv6

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There are significant changes coming to the Internet in 2012 and the years to come.  For years, IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) has been the primary protocol used to reach content on the Internet, but Internet Service Providers as well as Content Service Providers are facing the growing problem of IPv4 depletion. 

Let’s focus on IPv4.  It’s a protocol  which uses addresses  to reach content on the Internet.  Different sites are allocated different IPv4 resources.  But providers have been running out of IPv4 addresses for a while.  And last year about this time, the last set of IPv4 resources were handed out to the regional authorities charged with delegating who gets what addresses.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is a new version of the Internet protocol that has been adopted by the Internet community as a go-forward method of IP addressing for the Internet.  Though this is considered “new”, the protocol was actually published in December 1988.  You may not require IPv6 for some time.  But Windstream has already taken action to ensure our network is ready when that time comes.

Today, the Windstream network already supports “Dual-Stack” routing, which simply means our network is capable of handling both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.  With this capability, Windstream is well positioned to support our customers’ needs as the Internet transitions to IPv6.

In the near term, this probably doesn’t mean much to you.  In fact, most Internet consumers can’t begin to tell you what protocol they’re using.  They’re far more likely to be interested in whether their ISP is providing access to content in a timely manner.  A consumer’s view may be, “I don’t really care which protocol they’re using as long as the content I need makes it to my computer, tablet, or phone when I need it.”

But we’re looking ahead, and we’re not the only ones doing it; companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have had content available via IPv6 for some time now.  Today, however, most of the content you need is available via IPv4, the older version; IPv6 is still being used mostly for research and testing.

We know, however, that the transition will likely begin in the near future.  At Windstream, we’re working to ensure that when the switchover from IPv4 to IPv6 is needed, it’ll be a seamless transition. For some Windstream business customers this will be a gradual transition and will play out over a number of years.  Other customers may have a more urgent need to transition to IPv6, and Windstream is positioned to support those needs.  We’re planning now to make sure that in both cases, everyone’s access to the information they need for their business is available.