The Internet of Things (IoT) is fundamentally changing the relationship between technology and our daily lives. From intelligent wearable devices for healthcare to smart thermostats that help us save energy, IoT technology has unlimited potential in improving our quality of life.
For enterprises, IoT simplifies businesses through automation and helps enterprises reduce costs. IoT also helps businesses efficiently collect data to explore new opportunities and increase productivity. Big data analysis, sensor networks, and dedicated applications through the network are some tools used by enterprises to maximize their profits through IoT.
Network Limitations for IoT Implementation
IoT also has a profound impact on today’s network infrastructures. However, most networks are unable to support the data flood from the massive number of IoT devices. Because of this shortcoming, these networks are unable to fully tap the potential of IoT.
One of the major network shortcoming is exhaustion of IPv4 addresses. In Asia Pacific, there are not enough IPv4 addresses to be allocated to new terminal users. When Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn first introduced IPv4 in 1974, they expected IPv4 to accommodate about 4.3 billion addresses. At that time, IPv4 was sufficient to support development in the next few decade. However, since every device requires a unique address, the rapid growth of mobile phones and other “always-online” Internet devices caused IPv4 address to be quickly used up.
Advantages of IPv6
To address this issue, IPv6 was introduced as a new Internet standard to ease the situation. IPv6 provides more IP addresses, simplifies IP address allocation, and improves the security of IP addresses. The IPv6 adoption rate is increasing and has reached 26.1% today in the USA. According to the IPv6 statistics provided by Google, the percentage of users who visit Google using IPv6 is significantly increasing. In January 2015, only about 6% of users visited Google using IPv6. A year later in January 2016, this figure rose about 10%. In January 2017, it further increased to above 16%.
IPv6 provides many innovative functions. For example, it uses a 128-bit Internet address, allowing 2¹²⁸ Internet addresses which are sufficient for long-time access to multiple devices.
From the security point of view, IPsec is implemented in IPv6 and provides security equivalent to that in IPv4. What is unique about IPv6 is that it uses data packet as the unit for compiling. It also uses more advanced encryption technologies, such as the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). IPv6 applies IPsec to ICMP to block malicious software.
Also, IPv6 supports the SEND protocol and authenticates hosts using encrypted information, which significantly reduces the possibility of name-based attacks. Under IPv4, it is relatively more comfortable for hackers to redirect traffic for malicious attacks or information stealing.
It is also easier to configure IPv6. With the automatic configuration function of IPv6, an IPv6 address is generated immediately after a device is powered on. This function reduces the effort required for device configuration.
Effective Deployment of IPv6 for IoT
More and more IoT devices begin to use IPv6 to resolve the efficiency, scale, and security problems. Application of IPv6 is a double-edged sword for enterprises. IPv6 has sufficient addresses to add IoT devices to the network. However, it is unable to meet the bandwidth-intensive requirement of the IoT solution. In many cases, latency occurs because the network has too much data.
This is why SDN, particularly software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), has attracted a lot of attention from enterprises who want to upgrade their existing networks. SD-WAN has many advantages, including optimized applications and cloud connection, enhanced security, simplified configuration, and compatibility with any transmission capability. The SD-WAN frees enterprises from manufacturers’ dedicated hardware infrastructure and time-consuming configurations and provides adequate methods for enterprises to enjoy benefits of agility and flexibility.
SD-WAN has a bright market prospect. As predicted by IDC, the SD-WAN market value will reach six billion US dollars by 2020. Considering that the market value was 225 million US dollars in 2015, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is as high as 90%. Enterprises are gradually aware of advantages of the SD-WAN over the traditional WAN, and the IoT also helps accelerate the evolution in which the SD-WAN becomes the foundation of the enterprise WAN.
Backwards Compatibility for IPv4
Although the IPv4 address space is almost exhausted, it has not disappeared from public usage. That is why enterprises adopting the SD-WAN must ensure that the selected solutions support both IPv4 and IPv6, which provides a smooth transition to digital transformation. If the solutions cannot support both IPv4 and IPv6, enterprises may face a lot of connection problems that are encountered by current WANs.
Integration of IPv6 with IoT makes the SD-WAN more attractive for enterprises, especially those enterprises that have already felt the pressures brought by the traffic of multiple devices. Adoption of the new technology will help enterprises improve their expansion capabilities, create new opportunities, and eventually increase profits.
To conclude, IPv6 with IoT has several advantages and is assisting the organizations in adopting the IoT technology with more ease especially the ones who have adopted SD-WAN over traditional WAN.
To know more about IoT on Alibaba Cloud, visit www.alibabacloud.com.