IETF ready to save home network users and lose every friend they tell about it

IPv6 is vitally important, is headed to the home network and is sure death in any conversation

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And, just as they did with the transition from WLAN protocols 802.11 a, b, g, d, n, q, X and infinity, they'll do it in a way that will force all the idiot hardware inside the average homeowner's house (I'm one of the greatest offenders in this) to shape up and at least emulate the new rules so they can all keep talking to the rest of the Internet so none of the mission-critical MMORPGs or social networking falls by the wayside.

Wouldn't want a raiding clan to be disappointed at a no-show just because the new switch speaks IPv6 and Opie's school-approved laptop doesn't.

That's really patronizing and insulting, of course. But consumers, for the most part, don't want to know anything about the details of how you connect them to Facebook and will resist if you try to tell them.

You know it's true because it has happened to you more than once (probably more than once this week).

Geekery is fascinating to geeks and numbingly dull to other people unless something dramatic is happening (which usually means a disaster).

The problem, for those of us who are evangelistic about our love of geekery, is that the luddites are right. They shouldn't have to know anything about networking or IPv6, or internetworking standards or conversion tables or anything else.

There shouldn't be a huge learning curve just to get a $20 switch to talk to the router on one end and the Netflix-enabled TV on the other.

If there is, whoever designed the systems did it wrong.

IT is supposed to make things work, not make people work on it. That applies much less in corporations where IT needs to tune and customize everything to reduce the potential for blooey escaping from userland every 20 minutes.

In the home, where making sure most of the living creatures are fed most days is enough of a challenge for most two-career couples, making customers spend extra time fixing a network connection that goes flaky every time the humidity spikes or the NASDAQ crashes is a sin.

It has to be simple and it has to be invisible.

With gear designed for home users, I'm thrilled (no kidding) to say, it usually is.

I hope for the same with the IPv6 conversion, which was too architecturally abstruse and technically dense even for most IT people do to more than nod at the right point in meetings and confirm to everyone who asked that IPv6 is vital even if they, personally, have no involvement in it.

Ladies and gentlemen of the impending IPv6 IETF home networking working group, I salute you. I wish you good luck in making IPv6 as big a deal in home networking as it became in corporate IT, and that it doesn't take something as big as the assignment of the very last IPv4 addresses to make people show their love for v6.

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