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The Future Is IPv6

By Gabrielle Gosset

Published May 27, 2014

Technology grows exponentially. Sometimes we need to afford it space to expand.

Gabrielle Gosset (UB Student, Class of 2016) is studying Electrical Engineering and dreams of inventing something someday. In her free time, she enjoys writing, playing video games and watching cooking shows.

As the world runs out of IP addresses, IPv6 addresses are being introduced to ensure that every device can connect to the Internet. On May 9, UBIT hosted a workshop in Davis Hall to educate UB IT support staff on the IPv6 transition.

At the Crossroads

Jerry Bucklaew, a Network Architect with Network and Classroom Services (NCS), explained the difference between IPv4 and IPv6, and what is new and different about IPv6. In short: IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long, written in a hexadecimal numeric system, making them much longer than IPv4 addresses.

UB’s IPv6 address will be 2620:cc:8000::/48 with some other addresses reserved for future expansion. Jerry further explained that UB has already enabled IPv6 on some networks at UB in a way that allows IPv4 and IPv6 to run in parallel so both addresses are supported simultaneously.

While the switch may seem daunting, Matthew Helmbrecht, Client Technologies Technician with Enterprise Infrastructure Services (EIS), assured that many university services have been tested and all passed, including local web traffic and Exchange mail. IPv6 will work on Windows Vista and up, as well as Mac OS Lion (10.7) and higher. At the moment, Symantec Endpoint Protection is not fully supported with IPv6, but using a Windows firewall is considered an acceptable alternative. Instructions on IPv6 workstation configuration will be made available on the UBIT website later in the summer.

How Do I Get Ready?

Ken Smith, Manager of Computer Operations for UB's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, spoke about the timeline of IPv6 and what departments and individuals need to do to facilitate this transition smoothly. While we have time until we need to be IPv6-ready, it’s a good idea to start taking steps now to avoid future issues. Check the vendor documentation of any network devices in your department to make sure they mention IPv6: this is particularly important when making new purchases.

Watch a recorded version of the IPv6 workshop presentation, then keep an eye on the Get Ready for UB’s Switch to IPv6 page for future updates.