APNIC happened to be the first Regional Internet Registry to meet in the IANA post IPv4 era. While discussions and proposals on how to divvy up the last ‘slash 8’ into tinier blocks are to be expected, it was rather unreal to see the energy spent divining how the RIR’s would share IPv4 space that would eventually be returned to IANA and then regurgitated. A timewarp with the exhaustion clock turning backwards?

Captions like ‘Goodbye IPv4, Hello IPv6’ or with a touch of nostalgia like ‘Goodbye IPv4, we’ll miss you’ are more refreshing. Maybe a sign of thaw, IPv6 starts to percolate faster towards content, enterprise and end-users. VeriSign reports 205.3 million Domain Names at the end of 2010 and their readiness for IPv6 and DNSSEC. Major content providers and ISP’s are gearing up and the June 8th IPv6 day gathers momentum. The Paris World IPv6 Summit in February was a success and Informa also plans a World IPv6 Conference in London, UK, in June.

Lightreading reports that operators are looking to CPE suppliers for IPv6 help. They anticipate up to a 100 million IPv6 ready CPE boxes worldwide by the end of 2011 and all major CPE suppliers on board. The past twelve months have been interesting in this respect with D-Link taking a clear head start while mighty Linksys remained stuck in the starting gate. Their recent attempt at damage control with a rather hollow ‘prepared statement’ , when challenged on the IPv6 support issue (8), shows some nervousness. Some ears must be ringing and IPv6 support can be expected sometime in spring.

Another sign of a new season: IPv6 transition stimulates the demand for networking jobs — time to hone some IPv6 skills.

In april, ARIN will be the second RIR to have its first post IPv4 exhaustion meeting. Some furious chewing on the IPv4 cud is to be anticipated as the first RIR’s soon running out of undigested slices of IPv4. In the meantime IPv6 will continue to percolate into the capillaries of the internet. Considering that 25% of the French GDP growth in 2010 was internet related and that an additional 450,000 jobs depend on the internet in the next five years (see Internet accounts for 25% of French GDP growth), there is no doubt it will be oiled everywhere by a sufficient number of unique IP addresses.

Written by Yves Poppe, Director, Business Development IP Strategy at Tata Communications