The future of communications calls for a focus on unified communications and collaboration, workforce mobility, IP telephony and network virtualisation. But moving from IPv4 to IPv6? Don't worry about it yet, Gartner analysts say.
"Given all you have to invest in, IPv6 is far down the list," said David Willis, vice president in Gartner's communications group, who joined with Gartner vice president Bob Hafner to discuss the topic of the " Future of Communications" at the Gartner Symposium ITExpo 2009 , a five-day event attended by thousands of high-tech executives.
Although the shift from IPv4 to IPv6 has been mandated for the federal government due to the perception that IP address space is running out and IPv6 is an improved Internet communications protocol, Willis said the reality is that "the economies of moving to IPv6 aren't working out for people."
It's too expensive and in an economic recession, it has not been a priority, nor he felt, should it necessarily be outside those with special requirements, such as the government and the military. "IPv4 and IPv6 work very well together," Willis pointed out, alluding to shared routing strategies and gateways.
However, the American Registry for Internet Numbers has said that US ISPs are requesting more IPv6 addresses and fewer IPv4 ones than ever.
On the topic of money, Hafner noted that the economic recession has contributed to the effect of lowering prices during the last year for many types of telecom products and services."Network costs continue to drop," Hafner said to the audience. The costs for switches, LANs and IP telephony gear can be found at over 50% less than previous years, and "by 2012, the price for enterprise-class gigabit Ethernet ports will decline by at least 40% from 2009."
Overall, telecom services are expected to decline, too. "Through 2013, enterprise bandwidth pricing will decline at an average rate of 8% to 12% per year, " Hafner said.