Today’s protocol for IP addresses allows for only 4.3 billion or 2/32 addresses. It is estimated that by 2012, we will run out of addresses under the IPv4 protocol. That’s not enough to go around and a new protocol, IPv6, will generate 5×10/28 addresses for each of the roughly 6.5 billion people alive today. IPv6 is coming whether you and your organization have adequately planned for it or not. Companies and government agencies should be prepared for this inevitability.

Take a Net-Centric View – Understand How IPv6 affects Your Organization. Action is the most important factor. You must understand what IPv6 will mean to your operation. What are its implications at a high level? Viewing your operation in a network centric world means that before you do anything your IT team must understand how IPv6 will impact your operation.

Identify What Needs to Change. Identify current software and services that are running on your network and understand the gap analysis for v6 transition. Work with your vendors and provide documentation of your plans to your vendor community to create a collaborative plan for IPv6. Understand the timelines for “IPv6 capable”. Establish upgrade strategies, and map out alternative methods to work around varying vendor IPv6 readiness.

IPv6 value is about connecting to your goods and service, products and customers wherever they exist. Establish the network connectivity roadmap and work with your vendors to collaborate on specifications for connectivity. This will advance you toward the competitive advantage of “everything connected.”

Don’t Be in Denial. Even if your organization is not thinking about it, you must begin to address IPv6 in some ways. Vista is here and Windows Server “Longhorn” is coming -- and they are v6 by default. Today you can buy v6 capable phones over the counter that will wirelessly try to connect v4 or v6 and then start attempting to tunnel to the v6 Internet. The drivers are all around us. Ten years ago you started using email and today network penetration is still accelerating. IPv6 is more prevalent than you realize.

The preceding was excerpted an annotated from Command Information, reachable at: