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June 03, 2010

Clouds, Enterprises and the Shift to IPv6: What's Going on Now

By Marisa Torrieri, TMCnet Editor

What is the state of IPV6 migration today?

The answer depends on who you ask. Many carriers think IPv6 -- the next-generation of the Internet Protocol and the successor of iPv4 - is in its infancy stages. After all, iPv4 addresses aren't expected to run out until deep into 2011!

But when recently posed the question to Kowsik Guruswamy, co-founder and CTO for Mu Dynamics (News - Alert), which makes software for testing IP services, we got a different perspective. As it turns out, interoperability for a "dual stack" (concurrent running IPv4 and IPv6) environment will be necessary over the coming years in order to ensure successful migration.
"We can only speculate as to the current state of carriers' plans in their migration," Guruswamy told TMcnet. "However, from what we've seen, carriers are simply too busy with their own network upgrades to pay much attention to IPv6 just yet."

In other words, carriers are already busy focusing on new device categories, as well as pressing issues like maintaining healthy networks and mobile backhaul. Then again, 2011 is just around the corner.

"To an extent, the IPv6 problem is going relatively unnoticed," Guruswamy said, before issuing the warning, "If carriers aren't careful, they could be too late."
To help operators prepare for the big "six" Mu Dynamics has rolled out the Mu Test Suite for IPv6, which "creates tests by using the traffic from your existing v4 based applications, and allows them to be re-run over IPv6 essentially with the flip of a switch," Guruswamy explained.

This, in turn helps compresses the testing process and product/service development by an average of 10x, allowing service providers to prepare their networks for the coming IPv6 onslaught.

"No other testing solution can perform the testing needed in the anticipated time before IPv6 is fully deployed in a real-world network environment," Guruswamy explained.
Over the last few months the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has made a number of announcements in regards to its products for testing IP services.  

The Mu Test Suite for IPv6, officially unveiled in April, is designed for network equipment manufacturers, government agencies and wired and wireless service providers that need to ensure they can effectively support IPv6. In essence, the Mu Test Suite for IPv6 helps customers to significantly reduce their time to test, and accelerate their IPv6 migration efforts, according to the company.

In March, Mu Dynamics announced xtractr, a collaborative cloud application that addresses a huge challenge for network engineers and testers - providing them with the ability to index, search, extract, and report on packet captures up to 250MB in size. This dramatically decreases the multi-week, tedious and fragmented effort for isolating network problems, troubleshooting performance issues and conducting network forensics that many engineers and testers suffer through everyday.

This is part one of an ongoing series on IPv6 challenges and solutions, which will be featured biweekly on TMCnet's "Testing IP Services" channel.

Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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