The Internet is about to turn the next page in its history. Stepping into the 5G and IPv6-driven era will require adopting new and improved solutions that would accompany the agility, speed, and reliability coming along with the new generation. That said, some of the cornerstones will retain their importance within the network architecture, as they are too deeply rooted in the system to be replaced by the novel integrations. For example, the good old Internet Protocol version 4, or IPv4 for short.
IPv4 was never meant to sustain the modern-day demand for connectivity. That is why the idea of protocol 6 came about, and why it will remain key in the IoT development. However, this does not mean that IPv4s will be slowly pushed out of the market, rather than the market will gradually shift to dual-stack set-ups, aiming to ensure smooth interoperability among both protocols. For this reason, companies will need to obtain sufficient IPv4 resources, as well as IPv6. Since the prior has already run out, IP address leasing will strengthen its role as the connecting link.
A quick recap on IP leasing
It's no news that the Internet has already run out of available IPv4 addresses. Yet the demand for them has not decreased in the slightest. Quite the opposite, with the ever-growing amount of connections, the need for IPs is of unparalleled growth. Although IPv6 is the obvious next step in the further development of the network, its widespread usage is still miles away due to IT infrastructure adaptability issues, implementation costs, and other factors. Here is where IP leasing comes into play.
Larger enterprises usually have a significant amount of IP address up their sleeve, yet are reluctant to sell them, as because of their limited supply IPs are considered to be a valuable strategic asset. IP leasing enables companies to lease out their unused IPv4 resources via an IP management platform, such as IPXO, without losing IP ownership.
The benefits of leasing out IPs are three-fold. For enterprises, monetizing unused IPs opens up the prospects of acquiring additional streams of revenue. SMEs, on the other hand, can leverage the opportunity to obtain necessary IP resources, which otherwise might be a task too-difficult-to-handle. IP leasing is a more cost-efficient option for small-scale vendors, thus without it, many would not be able to acquire IPs, which, in turn, would undeniably hinder their scalability. Lastly, enabling previously frozen assets to reenter the market mitigates the pressure placed on the network due to general IPv4 scarcity, contributing to an overall more sustainable Internet governance.
Challenges moving to IPv6
The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 has begun a couple of decades ago, although the rate at which it is progressing could not be considered fast-paced. Improving the infrastructure to support the protocols requires a big-budget investment, upgrading bare-metal servers, updating legacy applications and other resources, which all accumulate into an expensive and lengthy process, which not all market players are able to pursue.
That said, those with the right amount of resources have already started gradual migration, a. k. a. implementing systems that support both of the protocols. As the majority of devices are IPv4-compatible, implementing dual-stack set-ups is the only way to facilitate further development. In fact, it could be years till a significant amount of devices run with version 6, and even then, most of the hardware will need to have backlink compatibility, as there will be older smartphones, laptops, or other devices that need IPv4 to connect to the network. Therefore, the need for IPv4s will remain in the limelight for quite some time.
The role of IP leasing
To ensure successful dual-stack interoperability means having enough IPv4s, as well as IPv6s. However, as I mentioned before, the market has run out of IPv4s a few years back. Since the majority of systems and devices are dependent on version 4 to access the network, platforms facilitating IP leasing will see a steep rise in demand – to help the market meet the need for IPv4 addresses.
With IP leasing, market players can acquire the necessary IPv4s to keep their in-house structures working smoothly and ensure full backlink compatibility with the new era of the Internet, driven by IPv6. In short, it provides the means to implement and sustain a steadily running dual-stack network.
That is why IP leasing is an essential connecting link and will remain highly relevant in the upcoming IPv6 era. By providing widespread access to IP resources, it will cushion the challenges imposed by the migration to the new protocol, helping companies to take one step closer to the advanced networking standard.
- Vincentas Grinius, CEO at Heficed.
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