IPv6 Requires Learning Curve for Network Admins

Implementing networks with the new IPv6 standard will take substantial preparation, such as training developers and network administrators. Business IT managers be forewarned: Implementing networks with the emerging Internet Protocol Version 6 standard will take substantial preparation, including training developers and IPv6 administrators charged with provisioning office applications. "We've found a gap in the knowledge […]

Implementing networks with the new IPv6 standard will take substantial preparation, such as training developers and network administrators.

Business IT managers be forewarned: Implementing networks with the emerging Internet Protocol Version 6 standard will take substantial preparation, including training developers and IPv6 administrators charged with provisioning office applications.

"We've found a gap in the knowledge of administrators and IPv6 developers. There's a learning curve in setting up these environments," said Erica Johnson, the IPv6 consortium manager at the independent InterOperability Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H.

Johnson said her team discovered the knowledge gap during a recent test of IPv6 with 13 vendors' applications, including Adobe Systems Inc.'s Dreamweaver and Microsoft Corp.'s MeetingPlace.

Johnson said the test showed some successes, including the ability to send a complex transmission over a fail-over link that kicked in quickly when a primary link failed. However, the test, which was performed June 18 to 22, also revealed that problems developed for system administrators setting up IPv6 networking. The concerns were over the implementations and not the actual IPv6 protocol, she noted.

"It's not intuitive to an administrator what's IPv6-capable and what's not, and what supports what, so we had to walk [the testers] through the process," she said. "That's not going to work and can slow a person down many days." She cited as an example one administrator who was setting up a file server with IPv6, a process that took about a month.

The implications for businesses include the fact that IT managers need to do an inventory of what network nodes will remain on IPv4, and what will be implemented on IPv6 as a business grows, Johnson said. In addition, human resources departments need to be prepared for added training costs to prepare network engineers.

"We got a lot of questions on how you set this up. We had to step back and say there's definitely a learning curve here," Johnson added.

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Internet, Network, Networking, TCP/IP, IPv6, Protocol, IT Managers, Deploying IPv6, Implementing IPv6