D-Link Inc. recently released the DGS-3612G, an xStack switch product the company said will support the emergent Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) standard.
The Taiwan-based networking provider brought the new switch to market in anticipation of IPv6 adoption by governments and universities. IPv6 is replacing the old Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) due to ever-declining numbers of available IP addresses.
IPv6, which improves on routing capabilities from IPv4, increases the number of available IP addresses from 4.3 billion to a whopping 50 octillion. (That’s a five followed by 28 zeroes.)
One D-Link representative said IPv6 will also do more than just offer users network connections. It will also enhance network security.
“Being under IPv4, the numbers of addresses are starting to run out. The government was concerned we’re running out of addresses,” said Jerry Balice, director of technology for D-Link Canada.
“IPv6 allows for more secure routing. The biggest thing will be on security. The chances of someone trying to hack and use botnets with IPv6 is going to be much more difficult,” he said.
Balice also said D-Link’s DGS-3612G will help support the transition to the new network standard. He said the product will position D-Link as one of the first manufacturers to offer IPv6 support with its switches.
Designed as a centralized point of termination for long-distance, the DGS-3612G will offer multiple fibre cable connections, a 12-port gigabit switch with virtual stacking functionality and full dynamic routing with support for both IPv4 and IPv6.
The unit also includes fibre transceivers, advanced layer service options and D-Link’s Safeguard Engine to prevent denial of service attacks.
“It’s a high-performance Layer 3 switch and it’s designed around IPv6. It’s definitely a more secure method of communicating over an IP network and it’s more ideal for campus networks or governmental networks,” he said.
Balice also said that while average users won’t see a big benefit with the new standards or switch product, it will have more of an impact once it deploys into larger scale networks.
“There’s going to be more seamless compatibility within your own network. At some point, all the network gear you’re going to buy is going to be based on IPv6 if it’s a Layer 3,” he said.
One analyst, however, said that while support for IPv6 is becoming a more fundamental requirement for all Internet-connected organizations, he’s not sure if D-Link’s product push will yield results.
“I’d be surprised if a significant number of people actually were going to pursue D-Link because of this. IPv6 is something that’s just kicking off today. There’s not much of a business case yet,” said Jayanth Angl, research analyst with Info-Tech Research Group.
“The problem is that it’s a chicken-and-egg scenario. The carriers and service providers aren’t able to offer IPv6-capable applications that companies would be interested in until their customers are actually using the IPv6 protocol,” he said.
Angl also said that a key driver for companies taking on switches like the DGS-3612G is linking private, corporate networks to the IPv6 Web, which few companies are willing to do yet.
“The truth is, most companies use network address translation from their private internal networks to the public internet. The limitation is that you can’t use end-to-end security on that, and that address is not globally routable,” he said.
“Adopting IPv6 on a broad scale might take another 10 years, but it is an important capability to have moving forward. D-Link’s not the first to include it, but they won’t be the last.”
Pricing for the DGS-3612G is $3,100.