'IPv6 roll out must go before 3G's'

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BANGALORE, INDIA: Vish Iyer, VP, Service Provider, Cisco India & SAARC, talks to CIOL in an exclusive interview and reasons out that it's high time for India to migrate to IPv6. Excerpts:


CIOL: Why is there is a need for India to upgrade to IPv6?

Vish Iyer: It's is widely accepted that the IPV4 space will become exhausted by early 2011. This is the foremost challenge that telecom operators and the regulator in India foresee ahead of 3G rollout in the country. As per a study conducted by Cisco, IPv4 address will exhaust by the end of September 2011 worldwide.

Also Read: Less than 10pc IPv4 addresses remain unallocated


Earlier the allocation of IPv4 address in India was very limited, due to low broadband penetration and low usage of high-end phones. After the allocation of 3G spectrum and start of 3G services, the penetration will increase and considering the size of the Indian telephony market, IPv4 addresses may exhaust before 2011.

Though the lifetime can be extended using techniques such as address reuse with translation and temporary-use allocations, these techniques cannot meet the requirements of the business applications of the 3G environments.

Hence the only solution for operators is to migrate to IPv6 and Indian telecom operators need to start preparing themselves for this today.


CIOL: What are the causes for the slow adoption of IPv6 in India? Are there any apprehensions in the market with regard to IPv6?

VI: Indian operators need the ISP infrastructure to support IPv6 given the scale and size of the Indian mobile market. The back-end systems are already in the process of gearing up from a network evolution perspective.

On the system side the operating system, the application and web servers all support IPv6. The content availability is one area where efforts for support IPv6 are still underway.


CIOL: What are the advantages of implementing IPv6?

VI: The current IP address space is unlikely to address the potential huge increase in the number of users or the geographical needs of the Internet expansion.

Further it will also be a challenge to address requirements of emerging applications such as Internet-enabled wireless devices, home and industrial appliances, Internet-connected transportations, integrated telephony services, sensors networks such as RFID, IEEE 802.15.4/6LoWPAN, and distributed computing or gaming.


IPv6 quadruples the number of network address bits from 32 bits (in IPv4) to 128 bits, which provides more than enough globally unique IP addresses for every networked device on the planet.

The use of globally unique IPv6 addresses simplifies the mechanisms used for reachability and end-to-end security for network devices, functionality that is crucial to the applications and services that are driving the demand for the addresses.

IPv6 reintroduces end-to-end security and quality of service (QoS) that are not always readily available throughout a Network Address Translation (NAT)-based network.


In addition to the benefits of larger address space, IPv6 includes improvements that simplify network administration, such as:

- Simplified header for routing efficiency

- Deeper hierarchy and policies for network architecture flexibility, enabling efficient support for routing and route aggregation

- Server less auto configuration, easier renumbering, and improved ready-to-use support

- Security with mandatory IP Security (IPSec) implementation for all IPv6 devices

- Improved support for Mobile IP and mobile computing devices (direct path)

- Enhanced multicast support with increased addresses and efficient mechanisms