After all of the PR that has occurred around IPv6, which I have discussed previously on this site, there will be consumer and small-business demand for computer and network hardware and software that supports IPv6. This will be made more real when people subscribe to fibre-based next-generation broadband Internet or sign up with ISPs that offer any form of “cutting-edge” Internet service.
What will typically need to happen for most small networks is for the network equipment, especially the router that sits at the edge of the network, to support IPv6 in a dual-stack form. This may be achieved through a firmware update for most recently-issued existing equipment or will be part of recently-sold equipment.
Of course, a router manufacturer may say that their equipment is ready for the new standard but is it really ready when the ISP enables this technology? This includes interoperability with other IPv6 and IPv4 network equipment, whether the equipment works on one of the standards or is “dual-stacked” to work on both standards.
The IPv6 Forum (http://www.ipv6forum.org/) have established a logo program with a Website called “IPv6 Ready” (http://www.ipv6ready.org/). What you will be looking for is a yellow logo with “IPv6” on the router’s box. You can also check your device’s readiness on the IPv6 Ready website. At the moment, the logo list mostly points to OEM devices or software stacks rather than finished devices under their marketing names. But this logo will typically be found in the marketing literature for the device or on the device itself or its packaging.
This logo proves that the device conforms to IPv6 standards as a network hub or endpoint and works properly with other IPv6 and IPv4 devices on the Internet. This is facilitated by the device or software having to successfully complete a round of compatibility and interoperability tests in accredited testing laboratories before being authorised to display the logo.
There is also an IPv6-enabled logo for Web pages and ISPs that provide IPv6 access with the program at this site (http://www.ipv6forum.org/ipv6_enabled/). The Web-page program is underway and open to Webmasters who want to be sure their Website is future proof. It covers resolving of the URL to an IPv6 address as well as all-the-way IPv6 http access to that site.
The problem with all these logo programs is that there isn’t the customer-facing education that encourages customers to prefer equipment or services that are future-proof with IPv6. The services program could be augmented through promotion of IP services that are ready to provide IPv6 as a standard-issue service than something that you ask for. This also includes the service being enabled by default if a customer connects a dual-stack router to the service.
As the “World IPv6 Day” and similar campaigns gain traction, it will become the time for consumers and small-business owners to consider the benefits of the new IPv6 technology and what it offers.