Akamai's timeline for offering IPv6 service is in line with predictions by experts of when IPv4 addresses will run out in 2011. ARIN officials recommend that Web site operators enable IPv6 by Jan. 1, 2012 or risk frustrating end users with lower-grade service.
"We have 3,400 customers, and we know they are all going to need [IPv6] at some point," Summers says. "IPv4 and IPv6 will exist side-by-side on the Internet for a long time. We need to make this as seamless as possible on the part of the end user."
Having worked on IPv6 engineering, development, testing and quality assurance issues for nine months, Akamai is recommending that CIOs think seriously about not only supporting IPv6 but supporting it in a way that's equivalent to their IPv4 services.
"What will make IPv6 a tough transition is not about whether the switches and routers will handle IPv6. It's about the architecture that's in place to provide a compelling end user experience on IPv6 that's equal to what customers are getting on IPv4," Summers says. "End users are accustomed to a really good experience on IPv4. They're unlikely to accept degraded performance because they have a different address scheme. The network performance, availability and reliability need to be the same in IPv6 as in IPv4, and you need to think critically about how you're going to enable that."
Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.