incognito_incognito 12/07/2013 18:01 Page 2
The current transition to IPv6 involves much more than simply adding a new address. It offers the opportunity to renumber the entire network. In essence, it’s a new beginning. Before that can happen though, you need to take inventory of existing IPv4 resources, and that requires looking through all existing allocations and investigating how and where addresses are used. The first requirement in an IPAM solution then, is one that provides a comprehensive view of where addresses are deployed to aid both in IPv6 planning and in stretching existing IPv4 resources while preparing for IPv6 introduction. Many operators get IPv6 planning wrong by being too conservative with addresses. There is a lot of literature available to help IP planners avoid these mistakes, but a comprehensive IPAM solution should have best practices tools such as specialised IPv6 assignment rules and host density ratios calculation tools, built in to aid in the planning process. IPv4 will exist alongside IPv6 for a long time to come. To help service providers manage and monitor both sets of resources, a solution must provide a holistic view of all IP addresses by polling and compiling the data of a provider’s vast DHCP network to find exactly where and how addresses are deployed. Only then can a provider ensure that their IP plans match up with actual deployment for both monitoring and reporting purposes. Not all commercial IPAM caters to the unique management needs of service providers. Look for solutions that will properly align IPAM with DNS and DHCP, as well as allow providers to manage complex requests including those of an enterprise customer.
customisable and agile solutions. In an ideal world, you should never have to wait months for a vendor to add support for a new device or service. Choosing a solution provider that is willing to cater to your unique requirements and quickly deliver changes and updates is as important as checking off your feature requirement list. In the same vein, providers should not be limited by their device provisioning solution. A good solution should come out of the box with support for a variety of device types, vendor proprietary implementations, and access network types to reliably provision and deploy devices to your customers. Additionally, it needs to both provision static files and dynamically generate configuration files correctly so that you can choose the model that best fits your business. From the device management perspective, a provisioning solution should provide the ability to group devices based on operator defined requirements such as service level and device type, and enable batch firmware upgrades and parameter changes to devices matching certain criteria. To ensure a sound long term investment, the solution of choice should be expandable for any future growth and requirements. In the long run, the push to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) through triple and quad-play services will inevitably increase the number of devices that needs to be managed. Look for a device provisioning solution that supports an increasing number of devices without sacrificing performance. While it is difficult to ascertain whether or not a vendor will quickly adopt key industry standards, at the minimum, current standards such as TR-069, DOCSIS 3.0, PacketCable 2.0, SIP, and IPv6 dual-stack must be supported.
IPv6 far outweigh the costs. IPv6 offers greater efficiency, security, and ease of operations than IPv4. Given these benefits, and the scarcity of IPv4 addresses, there is simply no reason to delay implementation. MSOs however, are faced with the stark reality that the transition to IPv6 will be a long process due to its complexity. Meanwhile, they need to optimise existing IPv4 resources and deal with the additional layer of complexity caused by IPv6. This requires a whole new outlook on IP address management (IPAM). IPv6 will affect every facet of the networking environment where IP addresses are involved, including the back-office and routing and server infrastructure. Let’s not forget the subscriber premises where the MSO has little to no control. Given the complexity of IPv6, spreadsheets and home-grown solutions are no longer viable options due to scalability limitations. What MSOs need is an IPAM solution built with the needs of service providers in mind. This includes the ability to manage large amounts of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, both private and public, customer and internal, as well as track addresses associated with business services. To ease the introduction of IPv6, a comprehensive IPAM solution must align with the fundamental steps of this process: planning, monitoring, management, and reporting.
Conclusion: A Strong Foundation
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