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Transition between IPV4 and IPV6: An evaluation


Internet is the need of today which help businesses in connecting networks of networks that comprises of billions of devices and Routers etc. It includes different networks which also contain mobile phones, switches, personal computers and many intermediary user nodes. Such growing and advanced number of internets enabled appliances had enhanced the value of network infrastructure and its underlying protocols such as IPv4 and IPv6. After creation of IPv4, IPv6 has been created which has the basic reason of IPv4’s scarce IP space. IPv4 uses the address space of 32 bit which can become unique address however big business require big IP addresses (Govil, Govil, Kaur, & Kaur, 2008). In result IPv6 launched which uses 138-bit address space, which accommodate up to 34X1047 IP addresses. IPv6 do not only have vast IP address space, which could include numerous devices to have their own unique identifiers however it has different peculiarities in packet layout aspects, and transition techniques. Besides, IPv4 routing system has become complexes however IPv6 provides extra space in easy format, which become the main reason for the shift of IPv4 to IOv6. 

Transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 is not an instant task or process which can be implemented and achieved quickly however it takes number of mechanisms do developing it. While using IPv4 method, organizations do not transit quickly to IPv6 in fact they builds IPv6 network next to existing IPv4 network. There is another method of transiting IPv4 to IPv6 method and it is called tunneling. The basic idea behind this method is that, IPv6 method has been tunneled over an existing IPv4 network (Li, Bao, Chen, Zhang, & Wu, 2011). Tunneling methods include variety of such methods that can be used while tunneling IPv6 however these methods can be selected on the basis of requirement of situation. In addition to this, according to Nordmark and Gilligan (2005) transitioning of IPv4 to IPv6 can also be done through third method. This method includes translation at the boundary router between IPv4 and IPv6 networks. Through this translation process, IPv4 address can be transmitted into IPv6 address and vice versa. Organizations adopt different effective IT systems for enhancing their performances. Adoption of IPv4 and IPv6 can maximize the strengths of organizations (Nordmark & Gilligan, 2005a). Dual stack networks refer towards such networks that include both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. In these devices, IPv6 get implemented while IPv4 network has become depreciate.  Such large firms or businesses that slowly introduce change in their IT networks usually adopt this method. Moreover, such businesses can configure their routing infrastructure to support both IPv4 and IPv6 however they bring other network devices over IPv6 at slower pace. Through dual stack make it possible for individual devices that they can configure with anybody the technologies by using tunnel (Park, Lee, & Choe, 2004). 

Furthermore, while using dual stack devices, it enables companies to give devices and their routers to get programmed with both IPv4 and IPv6. It allows them to communicate with both hosts in company. Dual stack devices enable companies to accept requests from IPv6 hosts and later convert them into IPv4 data grams. Through this way it sends them to IPv4 destination and afterwards processes the return data grams. According to Wu et al (2013) such IPv6 devices that do not have path between consisting IPv6 routers may be able to communicate by IPv6 data grams within IPv4. Two network layers of IPv6 and IPv4 can be used through which IPv4 data grams would travel across conventional IPv4 routers (Wu, Cui, Wu, Liu, & Metz, 2013). While transiting IPv4 to IPv6 it is also found that these transiting solutions are only addressed as backward capability for allowing iPv6 devices to talk to iPv4 hardware. Forward compatibly is not allowed or possible between IPv4 and IPv6 as the hosts of IPv4 are not able to communicate with IPv6 hosts. According to Li et al (2011) it has been described that certain special adaptations might be designed for allowing IPv4 hosts to access IPv6 hosts. Different studies and technology development authorizes have contributed a lot in transiting of IPv4 into IPv6. It has been assumed that there has been fewer problems which has come after complete transition of IPv4 into IPv6 (Li et al., 2011). Different steps have also been taken for coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6. IPv6 has become business requirement for achieving industrial competitive advantage howeverIPv4 has turned off at some points. IETF must take necessary steps for resolving the issues of IPv4 and IPv6 for their transition. Three steps which need to be taken by IETF included turning on IPv6 routing in existing IPv4 networks, contacting IPv6 services wand using IPv6 protocol along with IPv4 with their applications (Zimu, Wei, & Yujun, 2012). 

Hu et al (2013) discussed in his study that generally it has been considered that transitioning of IPv4 into IPv6 is not viable long term strategy unless it only get done for size of address (Hu, Xu, Wu, Cui, & Shi, 2013). In addition to this, Govindarajan et al (2014) described that if IPv6 and IPv4 transitioning is sufficient to address the system and to accomplish user access needs then one needs to reallocate the existing IPv4 address space to resolve the problem. In IPv4 the issue of part to both i.e. maximum transition unit detection often create problem however it get resolved in IPv6 networks (Govindarajan, Setapa, Meng, & Ong, 2014).  Besides this, other issues which support applications include the space less IP i.e. Internet control message protocol system. There are various specific objections, which get surrounded by business issues during transitioning and coexisting of IPv4 to IPv6.These objections, or issues include costs of transition, readiness of protocol and its implementation and large problems in routing and addressing (Bi, Wu, & Leng, 2007).  

Businesses need to deploy IPv6 network in order to enhance their efficiencies of networks. It becomes essential to obtaining large amounts of address space inexpensively. Large businesses have become failed in deploying IPv6 to offer connectivity to new markets (Cui, Wang, Sun, Li, & Wang, 2015).  Moreover, companies are moving towards the trend where instead of wide space the IPv6 deployment, a market for IPv4 address space has develop with providers, leasing or selling address space. Park et al (2004) described that IPv4 connectivity is expensive as compared to connectivity of IPv6 in long term. Furthermore, it also enhances revenue that connectivity brings for the businesses regardless of protocol. IPv6 network is much efficient and profitable for long term businesses. Issues get raised during the deployment process of IPv4 (Park et al., 2004). Whenever company decide to deploy IPv6 or transiting or co exiting both IPv4 and IPv6 networks, issues start raising as there were two categories of people one who have used IPv4 and other who have use IPv6 for communication. Moreover at such times, the ability of businesses to maintaining and controlling both networks and IPv4 connectivity get become questionable (Wu et al., 2013).

Motivation for Research 

The use of Internet in the organizations is increasing rapidly and this scenario requires better IP solutions. Due to this very reason the IPV6 was formulated and developed. Currently IPV6 is co-existing with IPV6 and it is believed that it will be a very huge task and would take several years to make the transition possible globally. So it is fully comprehended that the process is not possible in a go initial co-existence makes the process more prominent hence there is more of a need to understand this transition phase to provide the Internet users with a rationale to how to proceed with this transition process. The research is motivated by this phenomenon and wants to contribute a gradual model for transitioning between IPV4 and IPV6. 

Aim of Research:

The research is aimed at proposing gradual and effective measures of achieving an easy transition from IPV4 to IPV6. This is imperative due to the current vulnerability of IPV4 and the technological advancement offered by IPV6. There is a strong impetus to convert IP system from IPV4 to IPV6 hence this research has aimed to explore a gradual and more effective process of managing transition. A sudden transition can become a mismatch and can be detrimental rather then productive hence a gradual system is effective in managing the transition while maintaining the compatibility. The aim of this research was to effectively explore and justify gradual process of implementing transition from IPV4 to IPV6. 

Research Objectives:

The steps required to achieve the research aim are:

Research Background:

The communication over Internet is solely dependent on the unique IP address and it is well known that IP is used to connect nodes in a network. The growth in the internet usage has multiplied the process manifolds to allow researchers to consider this as a valid process for making change and to bring about innovations in order solve problems and provide more effective way for communication. Since IPV4 is considered as 32 bits and its low storage has created hurdles for managing the recent growth. Furthermore its class D and class E are reserved for special use only hence further reduces the availability of the unique unicast IPs.  Soon the system will be overwhelmed and IPV4 will not be sufficient hence transition to the IPV6 takes birth and similarly the debate to make it happen in a most effective manner as possible.

As Nordmark and Gilligan (2005b) argues that there is an increasing decline in IPV4 addresses globally which creates the need for the expansion of IPV6. Despite the fact that the transition from IPV4 to IPV6 is a gradual one, it is undoubtedly the focal point of several discourses in the information technology industry. Roger (2014) further opined that there is an urgent need for the transition from IPV4 to IPV6 on the global telecommunication scene. The aim of this research want borne out of this call which is due to the perceived flaws of IPV4 and the need to create awareness for easy transition to IPV6. 

Vaughan (2011) revealed the flaws of IPV4 signaling the urgent need for IPV6. Among his mentioned flaws include: the exhaustion of IPV4 addresses, the complex nature of its configuration, poor security, internet structure that is flat routing and poor quality of service. It is no longer news that the increasing demand for Internet by users has led to the draining of IPV4 addresses. This has coerced firms who find it difficult to put up with the 32-bit IPV4 system to utilize the Network Address Translator system in their bid to structuring various public addresses into a single public IP address. Vaughan (2011) further noted that the complexity of configuring IPV4, which is done manually through the Domain Host Configuration Protocol, is one of the greatest un-doings of IPV4. This has created increased calls for the introduction of an easier and automatic medium that has cover this error in IPV4 (Wu et al., 2013). 

Furthermore, the hostile environment of the Internet provides the need for improved security. Sadly, IPV4 does not provide adequate encryption for online activities, which creates the need for increased security on the cyberspace. The IPV4 Type of Service (ToS) boasts of limited functionality hence the cry for an adequate Internet protocol that can easily incorporate the video chat, voice and text features of the Internet.

It is also important to know the benefits that IPV6 brings to the Internet world in order to decipher its relevance. Dean (2014) suggested the benefits of IPV6, and they include: flexible configuration of addresses, large address space, improved security, hierarchical structure and automatic configuration option. With a 128 bit long address space, IPV6 allows for address space capable of occupying 3.4×10^38 addresses with no need for Network Address Translators (NATs). Furthermore, IPV6 supports IPSec, which ensures better encryption and improved security for Internet users. It is also interesting to know that it has a hierarchical structure, which ensures faster routing and a platform that supports automatic configuration.

The research paper has provided adequate information on the transition process from IPV4 to IPV6. Basically, the different transition processes approved by the International Engineering Task Force has been highlighted including their advantages and demerits. According to Jackson (2013), the prominent mechanisms for achieving a stress-free transition are the dual stack method, the tunneling method and the translational mechanisms. 

Also, the flaws associated with IPV6 implementation has been revealed. As Wang, Wu, and Cui (2006) further opined that these problems are in terms of compatibility issues, project risks, the problems of reverse name mapping and a host of several issues.

Significance of the study

The basic contribution of this research report is to fully define the process of gradual transition and proving it has an effective process of achieving success. The rationale has been further enlightened that here is a significant need for business and analysts to understand the growing nature of the Internet and remain cognizant that they need to initiate a conversion process now rather then waiting since the gradual switch is more effective and a viable way to fully incorporate IPV6 and develop in effectiveness and efficiency. The evaluation of various methods and process has made it clear that process of transition is an inevitable process better will be if it is executed in a sync and gradually along side other developing process as it will prove increasingly effective. 

The research has explored the data within the telecommunication firms and formulated deep understanding regarding the transition between IPV4 and IPV6. The data has allowed the telecommunication industry to understand the concept and practices that can assist and prove more effective in managing the transition. Thou transitioning are a process that can be completed swiftly but this research has recommended the use of gradual process that has an impact in better assimilation and execution of the process while remaining productive. Henceforth organization working on this parameter can improve the results for there transitioning process.

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