IPv6 - Today or the Future?

by Susan Linton - Jun. 09, 2011Comments (0)

ipv6 world dayYesterday was the world IPv6 day and reports say that there is some good news and some bad news for us who spend most of their time in Linuxland. Some others say this is much ado about nothing. For me, I might have passed into the "can't teach old dogs new tricks territory."

Beyond the cliché-fest, Sean Michael Kerner (of Internetnews.com) wondered if Linux missed the IPv6 train. He noted several Linux Websites that were ready and some that weren't for test day.  He noted that while most Linux distributions were ready for the inevitable transition, "a number of major Linux websites are not."

He explained,

For example, www.redhat.com is not accessible via IPv6 today (as far as I can tell or Red Hat will tell me). You can only reach Red Hat on IPv6 at ipv6.redhat.com. Yes that is a big deal... That said, www.fedoraproject.org is both IPv4/6 today which is great.


He also noted that Linux.com wasn't available over IPv6 either. In a subsequent article, he noted that IPv6 traffic was up by 50% worldwide.

Closer to home, the openSUSE team characterized their participation as a success. They enabled IPv6 on many of their servers in Germany and the US. Despite their overall success rate, they elaborated on some issues as well. The two primary issues they experienced were (1) Native IPv6 users reported problems which are MTU related; and (2) Some sites are not accessible from some clients. But clients from the same subnet did not have the problems.

openSUSE said previously,

IPv4 and IPv6 offer separate worlds. An IPv4 server can not talk to an IPv6 client and the other way around. Many users still have IPv4 only routers and modems at home and can't even join the IPv6 world if they wanted to. This is especially true for older routers and modems - like those in countries which adopted the web early, like in Europe and the US.


I think that sums up the issue for most of us. For example, our old friend Adam Williamson, from Red Hat / Fedora fame, detailed the particular challenges in trying to join in the reindeer games. He said, "I spent most of this morning flashing different dd-wrt firmware images to my router... , I'll try and make happyassassin.net IPv6 accessible once I get my head fully around the whole thing." Matthew Garrett was a bit more succinct. "There's no way to configure IPv6 without editing text files, installing packages and punching yourself in the face repeatedly. Adam blogged about doing so today, and I suspect he may be in need of some reconstructive surgery now. Thankfully this is the future and punching yourself in the face is now an optional extra rather than bundled."

That sentiment is confirmed by an IT shop owner-operator I know. He said, "End-to-end native IPv6 is years (maybe even a decade) away from being a reality." Which is comfort for me personally. Not only would I probably need to buy new switches and routers, but I'd need to learn all kinds of new stuff and edit all kinds of files. Looking over a few howtos just served to confuse me more. I'm still waiting for the general purpose, plain English, Reader's Digest soup to nuts version. In order to learn regular networking, I set up a server using configuration files to do everything and started a Website. It was a time investment, but I never regretted it. One example is my reading the fine iptables manual from cover to cover then constructing a firewall from scratch line by line. An exercise well worth the effort, but now with IPv6, I feel like I will have to do that all over again. It's almost enough to make me seek offsite Web hosting.

What about you? Are you ready for IPv6?

Mark Walker uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


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