About a quarter of global internet content will be carried using the IPv6 protocol by 2019, according to network equipment giant Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index (VNI) report.
The report made public over night revealed that global IPv6 traffic would grow at a compound annual rate of 77 per cent over the next five years, and forecast that 40 per cent of devices and connections would be capable of carrying it by 2019.
The network protocol, which will eventually replace IPv4, is capable of providing a virtually endless supply of internet addresses.
IPv6 proponents have also argued that the new protocol will also give the internet a security boost however that view remains controversial in networking security circles.
Cisco chief technology officer, Kevin Bloch, warned that IPv6’s security enhancements were inadequate to address the massive expansion of the cyber-attack surface expected from sharp growth in internet traffic and connected devices over the next five years.
Cisco’s VNI report forecast that Australian internet traffic would nearly triple by 2019 to reach 1.2 Exabytes per month. Overall internet traffic in Australia was expected to be 154 time 2015 levels by 2015.
The number of networked devices would nearly double from 2014 levels to reach 219.6 million in 2019, the report forecast.
Mr Bloch said that globally the IT security industry could be tasked with protecting potentially 50 billion internet connected devices – some attached to critical infrastructure – by 2020.
“IPv6 was essentially built to provide a much larger number of IP addresses. There’s a few things been added to the specification from a security perspective but not enough. I’m not going too sit back and say we’ve got it covered – we’re not even close,” Mr Bloch said.
Security remained one of the largest challenges facing the shift to the so-called “Internet of Things” or “Internet of Everything” driving global IP traffic growth, he said.
“I don’t think you can talk about IoT or IoE without having a commensurate discussion around security. Security is really about two issues: one is security and the other is privacy,” he said.
Privacy could be the larger of the two Mr Bloch warned as it was about access to data.
Asia-Pacific's internet protocol numbering authority APNIC has predicted that IPv6 capability in the region will reach 10 per cent some time this year. However, Australian carriers appear to be lagging and the telecoms industry’s peak body, Communications Alliance, has said that there’s “no pressing need” to switch from IPv4.
Telstra has conceded in press reports that it has run out of IPv4 address space.
Earlier this year, Telstra’s chief information security officer, Mike Burgess revealed that the carrier was using Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT) to provision mobile services.
Networking security experts have argued that the use CGNAT could disrupt the federal government’s metadata retention scheme as it allows carriers to use a single IPv4 address to serve multiple downstream users. They argue that could make it hard to accurately determine the identity of persons of interest to law enforcement authorities.
This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.