The premiere source of truth powering network automation. Open and extensible, trusted by thousands.

NetBox is now available as a managed cloud solution! Stop worrying about your tooling and get back to building networks.

What Management Reads About IPv6

By stretch | Monday, January 17, 2011 at 1:15 a.m. UTC

While perusing financial news Sunday, I came across a MarketWatch article titled Disappearing IP addresses - the latest panic in tech, by John Dvorak. Curious about how a non-networker interprets the coming IPv6 migration, I read the article. But I suppose we all make mistakes.

From the article:

I have been on the "who cares about IPv6" side of the debate ever since that show and have recently concluded that maybe it is about time we moved on to a new numbering system. But not because the world is going to end. I say do it because the business needs a boost.

The author is apparently advocating a complete restructuring of the Internet addressing architecture not out of necessity but because it might generate some cash for "the business." It gets worse:

So what happens to the old routers? Well, many sources say they can be made compatible with IPv6. Oh really?


But I wonder. I suppose they can keep both systems working together with some compatibility code.

Well, that's a relief.

There cannot be a massive push to upgrade the Ethernet I/O on the computers themselves. This would be too much to bear, so we can assume your computer is safe from an expensive upgrade.

More good, if totally irrelevant, news.

Today an excellent router such as my current all-time favorite, the WNDR-3700 dual band router from Netgear, costs around $200. Expect to pay an extra $50 for the IPv6 version.

The majority of SOHO devices can potentially support IPv6 with a simple firmware or software upgrade, and SOHO router manufacturers will be implementing IPv6 as a stock feature in new routers over the coming years. Not that you'll need it until your ISP actually supports IPv6. (Comcast, one of the largest residential ISPs in the US, just recently began residential IPv6 testing last year.)

I expect to see a new moniker such as "dual protocol" or some such thing introduced. Look for it.

Gee, that sounds familiar.

The thesis of the article is this:

The key will be new routers. For the big boys that means a bonanza for Cisco Systems Inc.

Such a prediction betrays an almost complete misunderstanding of the industry. Yes, companies will need to purchase new equipment, but this happens regardless of the introduction of a new Internet protocol and at the regular four- or five-year intervals as it has for decades.

I realize I'm preaching to the choir here, but articles like this are what worry me about the IPv6 transition. The posturing of IPv6 as a money grab and the faux technical analysis in the absence of any recognizable form of research introduce additional obstacles to the worldwide adoption of IPv6, a battle which is already being fought uphill.

Posted in IPv6, Opinion, Rants


January 17, 2011 at 3:01 a.m. UTC

What a sad little article. Dvorak has increasingly become the IT Debbie Downer for years now. And you would think he would have a technical editor at least skim over his work before he submits it.

January 17, 2011 at 3:51 a.m. UTC

I would expect nothing less from Dvorak.

January 17, 2011 at 3:58 a.m. UTC

Sad part is this is normal drivel from Dvorak. One should never expect thoughtful and technically researched opinions from him. If you read any of his Apple bashing articles you'd wonder he's not getting backdoor payments from Redmond.

January 17, 2011 at 7:34 a.m. UTC

Kinda takes me back to the Y2k bug days, when people where asking "Will my Blender still work?" or "will my Toaster be ok?" - Seriously!

I wonder if Dvorak asked such questions?

January 17, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. UTC

I have been accused of being an IPocalypse denier myself, but even I can see the FUD here :)

Most of this is typical Dvorak flamebait, but there are a couple of nuggets of truth in there.

Lack of IPv6 support in consumer grade CPE devices has been an issue for a long time. Many of these routers are perfectly capable of doing IPv6 (and can be made to do so by putting OpenWRT on there) but the vendors are very slow to add IPv6 to the official code.

When they do add it, they generally only do so for newer models rather than a firmware update for existing models.

Of course for the audience of this blog installing OpenWRT is easy (or at least a challenge to enjoy working out). We are a minority though. The vast majority of consumer internet access is from users that will need to refresh their hardware to get IPv6 support. Don't count on many of them doing it in the next 2-3 years though - there is no driver for existing users to move, it will when new subscribers get IPv6 by default that things will really pick up.

IPv6 only access is still quite a ways off.

January 17, 2011 at 1:11 p.m. UTC

Technical journalism, except very few prominent (and expensive) magazines has actually died out. Majority of it is this kind of bullshit all the time. All we can do is to say - ppl, remember, the name John Dvorak is what you need to associate with it! But then again, if you are not ashamed to write such bs, you will probably not be ashamed of the consequences too.

Alex S
January 18, 2011 at 3:55 p.m. UTC

When it comes to consumer devices, I am sure 'eyeball network' provider's marketing department will be able to squeeze something out of it. "Get our latest fastest greatest Internet, Movie Rental, Phone and TV and we will give you VCR, phone and brand new wifi router for free*". BFU subscriber may not even notice and/or care when it blends with natural hardware refresh when upgrading service.

*this offer includes triple-play premium subscription plan for next 2 years

January 22, 2011 at 5:06 p.m. UTC

Why make so much noise about the Dvorak acticle...? It has its usable points, but those are skipped over. So, the journalist do not understand networking and IPv6 om the level that dedicated network engineers do, bug neither do these network engineers (some of the time)?

To state that most CPEs used for Internet access easily can be changed to support IPv6, is wrong. You have to understand that most users do not configure their CPEs themselves. They cannot (lack of knowledge), they will not (why should they do such a thing) and in a lot of cases are not allowed to (by their ISP).

To argue that all Internet users should install OpenWRT on their CPEs are ridiculous.

Also, lots of CPEs do not have the capacity for a dual-stack implementation. Also their ASICS do not necessarilty support the neede IPv6 functionality.

Also, it is not a question just about native IPv6 implementation, but services like 6rd, 6PE, 6to4, Teredo, NAT64, NAT66, ACLs for IPv6, statistics, security, etc.

In the same box that have been manufactured with as little CPU, Memory and Storage to have a competive price in the marketplace...

January 27, 2011 at 7:22 p.m. UTC

@guest: Actually, Comcast's current opt-in IPv6 tests are accomplished using Comcast-issued routers running OpenWRT. See for more info.

James Coleman
February 2, 2011 at 3:15 a.m. UTC

Great. We put up with the Y2K lameness now we have to deal with both IPv6 and "global warming" lies at the same time. Lame.

Comments have closed for this article due to its age.