DEALING WITH IP ADDRESS EXHAUSTION IN RUSSIA

Thursday, September 08, 2011

You may have heard about the ‘gobbling up’ of IPv4 addresses. If not, in a nutshell – in the 1970s, 4.3 billion addresses were created – we blew through those (in particular in recent years given the boom in mobile devices), and now we must make the transition to IPv6 in order to allow more users and devices to communicate on the Internet. (And in case you’re curious, IPv6 allows for three hundred forty undecillion unique IP addresses, approximately.)

So you might be asking, what happens between now and when we’re fully-transitioned to IPv6 – more specifically, what do we have to do?

For most individual users and businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, when we “officially” run out of IP addresses, the impact will not be noticeable; owing to the fact they most likely use an Internet Service Provider that already handles most of the necessary upgrades.  Larger businesses, however, will be required to upgrade hardware, redesign software, etc.  Failure to do so will cause delays and outages.

That being said, we’re still a ways away from fully-transitioning to IPv6.  According to Akamai’s State of the Internet Report only about 0.25 percent of the top one million websites (as rated by Alexa) can be reached through the IPv6 versions of their sites.  Until all devices become IPv6-enabled, and as long as it’s still cheaper to purchase IPv4 addresses, companies will continue with IPv4 as long as possible.

Knowing this and that very few mobile devices in Russia are IPv6-enabled, MTS has turned to Cisco to “expand numbering capacity” through the Cisco Carrier Grade Network Address Translation.

And what do we mean by “expand numbering capacity”?  MTS will translate millions of private IPv4 addresses to public IPv4 addresses.  It will also now be possible to connect new users by offering one address to several subscribers.  Moreover, the capability to extend the system to 80 million address translations will enable MTS to centralize Internet access for several regional mobile and fixed networks.

Experts estimate that this is enough to ensure that MTS can satisfy the demand for mobile internet usage for at least the next 10 years. By implementing this solution from Cisco we are working to solve capacity issues before they become problems – but also paving the way for the proliferation of video content and new online services.

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