With IPv4 addresses dwindling down to a precious few, AT&T is offering a consulting service for businesses that are making the transition to IPv6.
According to a Hurricane Electric press release earlier this week, the last block of IPv4 addresses is slated to be doled out by a regional Internet registry sometime next week, which only adds to the urgency of being prepared for the migration to IPv6.
While IPv4 is nearing the end, IPv6 consists of 128 bits, compared with 32 bits in IPv4, resulting in approximately 340 undecillion IPv6 addresses versus the 4.2 billion available through IPv4.
With the proliferation of devices – including smartphones, gaming stations and even home appliances – that need IP addresses, AT&T is providing a consulting service to help businesses of all sizes transition to IPv6.
"Each of these devices will be trying to connect over IPv6 to corporate URLs," said Dale McHenry, vice president of enterprise data networks at AT&T. "Businesses need to realize the importance of early action and start planning their transition."
AT&T consulting service includes Webcasts and access to its IPv6 enabled "proof of concept lab," as well as fee-based sessions that help companies establish an inventory of their entire IT infrastructure and develop a plan to methodically enable IPv6 on the company's network infrastructure.
"Taking proper actions to have an early presence on IPv6 is critical for businesses," said McHenry. "As the shift to this protocol happens, businesses without IPv6 Internet presence run the risk of developing a 'blind spot' in their Web services access."
Since 2006, AT&T said it has invested millions of dollars to ensure that its own network and services are ready to make the transition to the new Internet protocol.
AT&T is now employing a variety of tactics – ranging from aggressively conserving/reclaiming addresses to full-scale upgrading of infrastructure – to minimize risk and customer impacts.
On the cable operator front, Comcast and Cox Communications have been proactive with their IPv6 preparations.