Word of Advice for Getting Started with IPv6

By Jennifer Bly - Public Affairs Specialist, ARIN

This month we’ve been reviewing the results of our recent IPv6 survey. First we took a look at why you decided to deploy IPv6 and who was involved. Next we examined some of the benefits of IPv6 and overcoming the challenges to IPv6 Adoption. Now we are going to look at the advice you said you’d give to others in the early stage of their IPv6 journey.

Here’s a sampling of what you said when asked “If you could give one piece of advice to a company that is just beginning its IPv6 deployment process, what would it be?”:

The big picture

  • Start ASAP, and make it a priority
  • Get full buy in from management
  • Make top-down decisions or policies to include dual-stack as a standard for all new services
  • Start early and define your long-term and short-term strategies and implementation processes before you begin
  • Get high-level support, then focus on security. After approval from CIO and Security to move forward begin training the network team. The training and early implementation need to be close together

How to think about it

  • Take it slow and give your plan due diligence
  • Start thinking of IPv4 as the add-on with IPv6 as the main protocol, not the other way around
  • Make it a matter of pride in the whole company
  • Motivate technical folks to achieve deployment progress through competitions among their peers
  • Be patient and dedicate the proper amount of time to training / research / deploying
  • Think of this as an opportunity to fix all of the mistakes you made in your IPv4 design, so take your time and do it right

Where to start

  • Manage it like any other project and prioritize enabling Internet-facing services ahead of the internal network
  • Get an address assignment and start playing
  • Request enough IPv6 address space to give yourself adequate headroom for growth
  • Prototype in lab environment first, test different IPv6 options to find the right mix
  • Set up test environments to gain experience and then in production, you’ll be surprised at how straightforward it can be
  • Start with customer-facing equipment, email, DNS, website, then your access, and last your business applications
  • Begin somewhere with a small number of hosts/services and block everything at the firewall, opening up only what is needed as it is implemented
  • Start with customer/Internet facing services and then endpoint access, slowly move legacy applications as they become available, use DNS to ‘fix’ services that lack IPv4 support
  • Take your time. Work from the core out and get DNS working rock solid
  • Make sure all routing equipment will support v6, and start deploying inside the network, with translation as a test, then cut over
  • Start at the edge of network and then work inward. End-user devices should be the last step

Knowledge is key

  • Talk to someone who has done it
  • Find trusted advisors
  • Hire a consultant versed in IPv6 to map out and work on the transition
  • Become an expert by getting­­­ training, lots of training for everyone involved

What do you think of this advice? Can you relate? Is it helpful? Do you have more to share? Let us know. Tweet us @TeamARIN on Twitter. In a future post we’re going to look at even more advice you gave in our IPv6 survey and we may feature what you have to say on Twitter as well.


Jennifer Bly

Public Affairs Specialist, ARIN