Internet Connected Devices Offer Opportunities for IT Channel Companies: Report

By Nathan Eddy  |  Print this article Print

There will be many different IPv6 transition scenarios, depending on the priorities, needs and capabilities.

The pending transition to a new addressing protocol for Internet-connected devices will likely create new business opportunities for IT product, service and support companies, according to CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association for the IT industry. A survey of 400 IT and business decision makers in the United States found that just 31 percent of respondents believe the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) will be mostly smooth.

The CompTIA survey, conducted in March, found that while there is awareness of IPv6, actions taken for the transition have so far been minimal. Just more than half (56 percent) of the organizations surveyed indicated that they are following news on IPv6, and 30 percent have conducted deeper research into the implications. However, only 21 percent have actually performed network upgrades and nearly one-third (31 percent) have done nothing at all.

"While some organizations may have sufficient IT staff to handle IPv6 transition tasks internally, many others will likely choose to outsource the work," said Seth Robinson, director of technology analysis at CompTIA. "Technology vendors, resellers and managed services providers may have opportunities to engage their customers not only for hardware and software sales, but also for education and consultation on how to navigate the transition."

A CompTIA whitepaper, The Basics of IPv6, examines some of the issues organizations may face in transitioning to the new protocol. The whitepaper is available free via the CompTIA Website, and explains every Internet-connected device is assigned an IP address, a unique identifier for each device.

Just as telephone numbers route phone calls to the correct phone, IP addresses route data to the correct device. IPv6 is a new addressing protocol introduced to provide a virtually limitless address space. With billions of devices already connected to the Internet and no let up in demand due to the proliferation of smart devices, the current addressing system – IPv4 – has exhausted its supply of addresses. There will be many different IPv6 transition scenarios, depending on the priorities, needs and capabilities of each organization, according to Robinson.

"Companies with high demand for IP addresses, such as Internet service providers, cable companies and wireless carriers, need to be right on top of this issue because they’re going to be running out of addresses," he explained. "Many other firms will have no immediate need to make the transition because their supply of private IPv4 addresses is sufficient to meet their requirements. Complete transitions are expected to take five years or more."