In the online world, the connection and message transfer of every device relies on unique internet protocol (IP) addresses to keep data transfer from getting mixed up; but with the rapid development of global internet, the number of networked devices is growing at an exponential rate. Also, the development of innovative technologies in recent years, such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Vehicles (IoV), has also helped cause the number of IPv4 address available to be almost depleted.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) had foreseen the flourishing of the internet, and already planned to develop the next generation protocol since the 1990s in order to solve the problem IPv4 address shortages; and that’s why the IPv6 (sixth version protocol) was released. International, regional and national internet data centers are also committed to the promotion of IPv6 in order to ensure that financial institutions and internet service providers (ISP) can connect seamlessly. Large international internet companies such as Google and Netflix, etc., already provide IPv6 services, and although the conversion rates in the Asia-Pacific regions have been slightly behind in the past, they are catching up in recent years; the popularity rate has reached 18%, which is the same as the international average.
The Board & Executive Director, Kenny Huang, of the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC) indicated that the popularity rate of IPv6 in Taiwan had grown significantly this year. This is mainly because telecommunication companies started providing commercial services; plus our terminal device technologies and infrastructures of the network itself are also getting mature and following international trends. These are the driving force for the increase in popularity rate. APNIC statistics even showed that Taiwan’s growth rate was number one this year.
However, there are mindsets that resist change, whether it is enterprises or individuals; and there are usually all kinds of misunderstandings or concerns people face with new technologies that they are unfamiliar with. For example, enterprises are worried about insufficient professionals within the company, or have the misunderstanding that private IP addresses have higher levels of data security.
In order to respond and clarify the various doubts, TWNIC has held educational trainings and provided various handout resources for many years, using a series of promotions and educations to promote IPv6 quickly and effectively this year. International professional lecturers were also invited to come to Taiwan recently to compile various information and issue training licenses to help operators provide commercial services, and further help business convert to IPv6 faster.
The Director General, Paul Wilson, of the Asia-Pacific Network Information Center (APNIC) thinks that network infrastructures and technologies are changing all the time, but talent is the key for actual operations. Therefore, after professional information and engineering staff enter the working environment, they must continue to self-improve by using seminar and study opportunities to share experiences, learn new knowledges and cultivate abilities. This is the direction that countries in the Asia-Pacific should work towards in the future, and where enterprises must continue to invest.
As for the doubts that enterprises and individuals have for the data security of IPv6, the Co-Chairman of the International IPv6 Operations Group Fred Baker, who has participated in operations and developments of network technologies for many years, thinks that although the awareness of data security is necessary, but there were rarely any new data security problems during the pushing of the IPv6 technology; the International Operations Group is always discussing and prepared to respond.
Many enterprises hurried to join the current IoT trend, and released different new products. But Fred Baker made the observation that, compared to senior manufacturers that had learned from experience and made improvements from their years of operations, there are some IoT manufacturers who are unfamiliar with the operations and developments of network technologies, and might have unexpected data security errors. When we look back at examples of network industries from the 90s, it can be seen that if product manufacturers cannot keep up with the development of new technologies such as IPv6, etc., they can easily be eliminated from fierce market competition.
In this wave of conversion, in order to promote IPv6 conversion, countries are providing various policies and preferential plans, and even making adjustments to laws and regulations to fully support and speed up conversion to IPv6. Paul Wilson also suggests governments consider adding contents to support IPv6 in their various procurement contracts to encourage service providers to convert to IPv6, and attract other private companies to follow in.
Compared to average policies where people wish to “feel it”, during the promotion of IPv6, we wish that the people “will not feel it”. Executive Director Huang indicated that besides providing the necessary education information to increase people’s information literacy, he hopes that end users will not be affected during the upgrade and conversion to IPv6 when using the internet. This goal requires more complete and comprehensive support measures so that people can have seamless connection without feeling it, and it will be more possible for this service to become successful.
In the technological development process, many businesses are used to waiting for market demand to be generated and then making responses; but in order to seize business opportunities and face the rapid popularization of IPv6, services providers must act quickly to prepare the various architectures and invest required resources in order to take the lead and emerge from the rapid development of the internet.