The threat of worldwide IPv4 address exhaustion has been on the horizon for quite some time now. The final blocks of globally accessible addresses are being sold to the highest bidder while entire countries and businesses are looking at IPv6 to solve their Internet connectivity needs. Even though 4.3 billion seems like a large number, which is the approximate number of addresses that IPv4 can accommodate, the exponential growth of Internet enabled devices has quickly whittled that number away. When Marist originally requested IPv4 address space from American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) a class “B” (/16) address pool was assigned, which provides around 65,536 globally accessible addresses. While Marist has not exhausted its supply of IPv4 addresses, communicating with IPv6 addresses becomes problematic and cumbersome without native IPv6 connectivity. Without native IPv6 connectivity Marist would be unable to communicate with devices on the IPv6 Internet in a scalable and manageable fashion. As the IPv6 movement started gaining momentum we began working to ensure that Marist would be able to emerge as an early adaptor and support IPv6. Last year the Internet Society deemed June 8th, 2011 as the first "World IPv6 Day" in which Marist was able to participate. Marist obtained native IPv6 connectivity through our Internet2 provider New York State Education & Research Network (NYSERNet) and we had an IPv6 enabled Website that was globally accessible only by others running IPv6. Traditionally Internet2 is not for “commercial” traffic and is dedicated solely for research and education. However, NYSERNet allowed us to have commercial IPv6 traffic traverse their network in order to promote IPv6 usage and awareness. World IPv6 day was used as a trial run to check compatibility with various end devices. Prior to World IPv6 day Marist had already implemented IPv6 on our guest wireless network which was used during the New York State Chief Information Officer (NYSCIO) 2011 conference.
Since the adoption of IPv6 at Marist, we have also been reaching out to our commodity Internet provider to inquire about their IPv6 plans. Their roadmap did not show IPv6 being rolled out across their network in the immediate future however they told us it was eventually coming. Recently our Internet Service Provider (ISP) (Lightower) informed us that they had just finished their IPv6 configuration and were ready to begin beta testing IPv6 connectivity with their customers. Marist is proud to announce that we are our ISP's FIRST IPv6 customer to peer with them using the BGP routing protocol. This protocol is what allows us to dynamically send and receive routing information on the Internet. Our BGP peering and configuration with our commodity Internet ISP was finalized in February. With the foundation in place we are now able to move at our own pace to achieve campus wide deployment. Our ISP has also mentioned how pleased they are to have such a large customer ready, willing, and able to help put IPv6 through its paces.