IPv6 Monitoring

Easing the Transition to IPv6 with Flow-Based Monitoring

The inevitable transition to IPv6 is fast approaching, with the last few IPv4 addresses in the final stages of allocation. IPv4 address exhaustion is happening faster than most people realize, and in the coming years the transition to IPv6 will be all but mandatory. While IPv4 only allows for about four billion IP addresses, IPv6 will allow for a nearly infinite number of devices to be assigned a unique address. Additionally, IPv6 is designed to be more effective in terms of security, reliability and ease of management.

Despite its many benefits, many organizations are unfortunately hesitant to migrate to the new protocol due to the technology upgrades involved in making the transition, as well as uncertainties surrounding how their infrastructure will behave once the new protocol is in place. However, in order for the Internet to continue functioning properly and securely, all companies and government organizations need to be planning for the transition now.

Flow-based network monitoring and anomaly detection solutions like Lancope’s StealthWatch, that support both IPv4 and IPv6, can help ease this transition by showing IT administrators exactly what is going on inside their network at any given time. Flow collection and analysis technology can answer many questions surrounding how network devices and applications are behaving before, during and after the transition, helping to mitigate any anomalies that arise before they become a serious issue. Lancope has been collecting and analyzing IPv6 traffic since 2008 for advanced network visibility, performance and security.

Here are some specific things to consider when planning the transition to IPv6:

  1. Do all your desktops and terminals provide IPv6 support?
  2. If you have some systems that must remain on older operating systems and run IPv4 stacks in the short term, will they need to communicate to systems that will transition to IPv6?
  3. Do you intend to make your current desktop environment public, or will you retain a NAT gateway to obscure your machines?
  4. Will your current applications support IPv6?
  5. Will your current routing/switching/wireless environment support IPv6?
  6. If you are planning to keep portions of your network infrastructure on IPv4: Will those systems need to communicate to the IPv6 systems and vice versa? Where will gateways/proxies/translators need to be employed?
  7. Do your existing network monitoring tools have IPv6 visibility?
  8. For monitoring, do you have a way to separate IPv4 and IPv6 traffic statistics to ensure that hosts you are expecting to send IPv6 traffic are in fact doing so?

Click here for more information on how StealthWatch can help ease your transition to the new protocol.