Feeds

Blighty's laziness over IPv6 will cost us on the INTERNETS - study

No more privacy, risks to business - it's the end of days

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The deployment of a new address system for the internet brings with it connectivity problems, network security issues and privacy concerns, according to a new study.

The UK is lagging behind other areas of the world in relation to the transition to IPv6 and the continuing reliance on the existing IPv4 system of addresses has the potential to limit the UK's ability to offer innovative services and compete globally, the study said.

"Without IPv4 address space, the ability to grow the Internet’s technologies and services – both the legacy and traditional ones and the new and innovative ones – will be severely hampered," it said. "The most important implication of IPv4 exhaustion is that the limitations on growth will probably pose risks to competitiveness and innovation in the United Kingdom."

The study into the deployment of IPv6 (80-page / 1.66MB PDF) was commissioned by Ofcom and undertaken by consultancy business Interconnect Communications (ICom). It said that the UK appears to be "avoiding the cost of deploying IPv6 regardless of the circumstances".

"Without new IPv4 addresses available, new computers, mobile devices, sensors, and other consumer and commercial devices cannot connect directly to the Internet," ICom's study said.

Every device connected to the internet has an IP (Internet Protocol) address, essentially its internet 'postal address'. When the current version of the Internet Protocol (IPv4) was conceived in the 1970s, it provided over 4,000 million addresses, but ICom warned that there are very few new IPv4 addresses left to be allocated, and that the sharing of IPv4 addresses will be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" in future.

The scarcity of the IPv4 resource has been known about for years and a new Internet Protocol, IPv6, was devised to combat the problem. IPv6 is a replacement system, slowly developed since 1995, comprising 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses. At the time of ICom's report, none of the UK's biggest internet service providers provided an IPv6 service, it said.

ICom warned that IPv6 is "a disruptive technology" and said it would "undermine the value of the IPv4 services they provide today". ICom said that some internet service providers have undertaken to use Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (CGN) technology to make more efficient use of their IPv4 stock, but said that "from all indications, it appears that CGN cannot provide the necessary long term solution that IPv6 offers".

ICom predicted that IPv6 and IPv4 would co-exist within the internet space for "the foreseeable future" and said that there were a number of ways in which devices operating in accordance with the different protocols could communicate with one another.

However, it warned that the potential technical solutions to achieve this interconnection present network security vulnerabilities.

"A big concern with a number of mechanisms is the potential that they can be used to circumvent existing security measures," ICom said. "Furthermore, the complexity of each of these transition mechanisms increases the vulnerability of hosts and intermediate devices to attack both from the IPv4 and IPv6 Internets."

ICom also said that because of the vastly greater number of addresses available under the IPv6 system, it will make it easier to link individuals with devices. Because many IPv4 addresses have now been shared by multiple users, anonymity for users under the IPv4 system has been easier to maintain, it said.

"While it is correct to say that IPv4 does not offer the same privacy extensions as IPv6, the way that IPv4 was treated as a scarce resource provided inbuilt privacy protection because it was unlikely that a single IPv4 address would always identify the same user, and IPv4 addresses do not have the ability to identify uniquely a device connected to the network," ICom said.

Copyright © 2013, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.