Before starting with IPv6 it is important to write down the reasons why IPv6 should be implemented. Even though there is a global need for more than IPv4 can provide every organisation will have different reasons for implementing IPv6 in a specific place at a specific time. These might not be obvious to everyone involved. Making sure that everybody understands the reasons will prevent a lot of problems later in the project.

Deploying IPv6 throughout an enterprise is not something that can be done without proper planning. You need to prepare yourself well. A first step is to appoint an IPv6 project manager. One of the first tasks of this project manager should be to identify which equipment and applications need upgrades or replacement. Enterprises often use online services (a.k.a. “Cloud”), either as a service for their own users or to outsource providing services to their customers. You should identify which services support IPv6. This is not only to identify potential bottlenecks, but also to see if those services can do some of the hard work for you!

But it is not just the equipment and services that need to work with IPv6. More importantly: everybody who is involved in running the network, attaching devices to the network and running applications on the network need to know how to work with IPv6. Identifying the education and training requirements is very important. Once these requirements have been identified it should be possible to calculate the cost for equipment and education.

With the reasons, plans and costs in hand it is time to present these to the management. Introducing a new network infrastructure involves many different people, departments and disciplines. You also need proper IPv6 support from your vendors. Unfortunately some vendors claim to support IPv6 better than they do in practice. It is recommended to ask all your vendors to provide a written statement on IPv6 support. Without strong management and vendor support the project to implement IPv6 is doomed to fail.

The final step of a good preparation is to set up an IPv6 playground and get some hands-on experience. Just reading about IPv6 is not enough. No matter how well your people understand the theoretical concepts, unless they get the “feel” of how IPv6 works they deploy it properly.