IPv6 Day is June 8, 2011

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From a networking perspective, the design of IPv6 infrastructure potentially allows all IP addresses to be public. How visible each node is to the internet is at a network administrator's discretion. This provides the ability to create end-to-end IP connections without the need for network address translation (NAT). Whereas with IPv4, NAT is required to connect devices with private IP addresses on private local area networks (LANs) to other devices on public networks like the Internet.

IPv6 has inbuilt mobility provisions which will facilitate the expansion and support of roaming IP devices like audio codecs. This means it won't matter where in the world a device goes, it can be contacted using the same global IP address.

IPv6 will therefore make it extremely easy to establish codec connections and removes the need for NAT routing workarounds, which have often taken up significant IT administrator support time and costs within organizations.

IPv6 also has quality of service (QoS) support built into it. Whereas IPv4 generally delivers best effort IP packet delivery across networks, IPv6 has a traffic-class field within packet headers allowing users to prioritize data packets based on their importance. This has obvious benefits for broadcasters who rely on uninterrupted data flows to maintain continuity of audio and video.

Multicasting in IPv6 is performed differently compared to IPv4. In IPv4 specific multicast routers are required to send multicast IP packets over IP networks. In IPv6 the addressing scheme inherently caters for multicast packet routing at different levels -- from local multicast links through to global. This is facilitated by embedding rendezvous point addresses in an IPv6 multicast group address, which simplifies the deployment of interdomain solutions. As a result, multicasting will become increasingly useful as a scalable, localized method of disseminating audio streams without the bandwidth restrictions of multiple unicast transmissions.

From a security perspective, unique IPv6 addresses allow more finely tuned IP security without NAT traversal issues, as well as end-to-end authentication and identification of IP devices. Currently security features like firewalls are generally managed at the network level and we may see a greater focus on security at the node, or individual device level, as end-to-end IPv6 connections become more prevalent.

With IPv4 addresses nearing exhaustion and the world moving inexorably towards IPv6 becoming the dominant Internet infrastructure, IP audio codecs and other devices must adapt to operate in both IPv4 and IPv6 worlds. Over time IP audio codecs in particular will require connectivity to a wide array of IPv6 endpoints. These endpoints will include local, national and international media contributors and syndicated stations.

Perhaps the biggest driver in the expansion of IPv6 infrastructure will be the proliferation of new wireless devices over the next few years and their use of IPv6 addresses. This will ensure IPv6 infrastructure spreads rapidly to support burgeoning numbers of new devices. Broadcasters will need to keep pace with these changes to support interconnections to both IPv4 and IPv6 hardware.

Tieline says its Bridge-IT and the upcoming Genie STL and distribution codecs are the first to support both architectures.

More about World IPv6 Day: isoc.org/wp/worldipv6day.

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