Australia's inaugural IPv6 summit in Canberra later this month will convey the message that next-generation networking technology is relevant to the wider enterprise and not just service providers and research organizations.
Paul Davis, CEO of GrangeNet, Australia's first native IPv6 network said the summit is "absolutely relevant" to enterprise IT staff as the industry is heading into a new paradigm of networking.
"IPv6 is not just a numbering system for devices on networks," Davis said. "If you're in the business of keeping track of things, for example, Corn Flake packets at Kellogs, sticking an RFID tag on it with an IPv6 number can then be used to display immediately its age, package date, use-by date, and price."
Davis, who will be a speaker at the summit, said IPv6, with its native security and large numbering scheme is a "new way of doing things where lots of products become labelled".
Organized in conjunction with the Internet Society of Australia and the Smart Internet Technology CRC, the summit will feature speakers from around the world, including IPv6 Forum and European IPv6 Task Force chairman Latif Ladid, Mark Evans from the US Navy's IPv6 transition project office, and World Wide Consortium for the Grid executive director Chris Gunderson.
Davis, a former IT manager, said IPv6 networks need less manual configuration, but run with the same maintenance and operation requirements as other networks.
"People will notice because a lot of big companies hide behind NAT [Network Address Translation] boxes thinking it is more secure," he said. "When IPv6 is native you may as well not have a NAT box. VoIP will suddenly start working and the worst way to approach this is to hide."
Davis recommends enterprises start looking at ways to provide a private IPv6 space to the businesses requirements.
"This is something we just can't afford to not do," he said. "Everywhere else in the Asia-Pacific region there is extensive IPv6 deployment and we [risk being] left behind in the communications space."
One notable absentee from the summit will be Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan who is unable to attend due to a clash with an estimates hearing. A spokesperson for Senator Coonan said the minister is sending a pre-recorded speech and was otherwise keen to attend, but the event was scheduled during the week of Senate Estimates hearings.
Davis said the general awareness in Canberra regarding IPv6 is that the policy framework needs concentration.
"The mandate to migrate for Defence to IPv6 by 2013 is sending a clear message," he said. "People from Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts have been having active and long discussions on IPv6 and what needs to be done for regulation and national policy."
The first Australian IPv6 summit will be held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra from October 31 to November 1. The summit Web site is at www.isoc-au.org.au/ipv6summit/.