IPv6 Performance Monitoring: An External View on June 8, IPv6 Day

External IPv6 Monitoring for IPv6-Enabled Services As highlighted by the upcoming IPv6 Day on June 8, the need for a new Internet Protocol (IP) is well understood and accepted in the networking industry. Requirements for more address space, simpler address design and handling at the IP layer, better Quality of Service (QoS) support, greater security, and an increasing number of media types and Internet-capable devices have all contributed to drive the development of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). What is less well understood certainly are aspects of how external monitoring helps identify key challenges for businesses using IPv6, specific areas for IPv6 performance monitoring, and the benefits of external IPv6 performance monitoring. Firstly, for brevity sake are some of the basic aspects of IPv6-related monitoring are noted in the grid below and the services to test and monitor. Then, a longer, detailed notes on the aspects of IPv6 as related to external monitoring.

World IPv6 Day launchExternal Monitoring for IPv6-Enabled Services

As highlighted by the upcoming IPv6 Day on June 8, the need for a new Internet Protocol (IP) is well understood and accepted in the networking industry.

Requirements for more address space, simpler address design and handling at the IP layer, better Quality of Service (QoS) support, greater security, and an increasing number of media types and Internet-capable devices have all contributed to drive the development of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

What is less well understood certainly are aspects of how external monitoring helps identify key challenges for businesses using IPv6, specific areas for IPv6 performance monitoring, and the benefits of external IPv6 performance monitoring. Firstly, for brevity sake some of the basic aspects of IPv6-related monitoring are noted in the grid below. After the grid is a longer, detailed note on aspects of IPv6 as related to external monitoring.

IPv6 issues Tools to Use What to look for:
Allow ICMPv6 through firewalls Free Ping – Instant Test here  Pinging from the worldwide Internet backbone locations will show if packets are getting through to destination, shows network latency, and packet loss percentage results
Increased Latency to your IPv6 Content Ping Monitoring – Free Trial Since the IPv6 environment is dynamic and will change due to internal and external ongoing network adjustments, therefore consistent monitoring will ensure notification when issues occur
Configuring a firewall Free Trace-route – Instant Test here Trace-route from the worldwide Internet backbone locations will show hops in the network where there are issues
General IPv6-related content Trace-route Monitoring –Free Trial  The IPv6 environment is dynamic and will change due to ongoing network adjustments, therefore consistent monitoring will ensure notification when network issues occur
IPv6 Complexity ServerView and UserView Monitoring – Free Trial Dotcom-Monitor services are IPv6-enabled. Monitoring companies that are not IPv6-enabled will not be able to monitor for content served via IPv6-related processes etc…

Introduction

IPv4, the current version of IP deployed worldwide, has proven remarkably robust, easy to implement, and interoperable with a wide range of protocols and applications. But, due to the Internet’s current scale and complexity, the ongoing explosive growth of the Internet and Internet services exposed serious deficiencies in IPv4. IPv6 is designed to specifically address these deficiencies, enabling further Internet growth and development.

IPv6 logoIPv6 Features

  • New standardized header format
  • Larger address space
  • Multicast and any cast
  • Stateless address configuration
  • Built-in security
  • Better support for QoS
  • Extensibility

IPv4 vs IPv6 | How is IPv6 better than IPv4?

IPv6 has a number of features that overcome the limitations of IPv4. A significant improvement is that the additional addresses remove the need for Network Address Translation (NAT). NAT has extended the life of IPv4 by allowing multiple devices to sit behind a router and share the same globally unique IP address. However, NAT also introduced a number of undesirable side effects, including specific difficulties in network troubleshooting, network administration, and the implementation of security protocols such as Internet Protocol Security (IPSec). IPv6 removes the need for NAT, allowing flawless and transparent end-to-end security.

Benefits of IPv6

  • Improved efficiency in routing and packet handling
  • Support for auto configuration and plug and play
  • Support for embedded IPSec
  • Enhanced support for Mobile IP and mobile computing devices
  • Elimination of the need for NAT
  • Support for widely deployed routing protocols
  • Increased number of multicast addresses, and improved support for multicast

Why is IPv6 Performance Monitoring needed?

As IPv6 is becoming the essential backbone protocol for next-generation networking, native IPv6 performance monitoring is essential to determine whether performance issues are originating in the transition phase to IPv6, or in the end-to-end IPv6 environment.

IPv6 websites can be accessed using dual stacks, tunneling and protocol translation, but IPv6 performance monitoring is essential to determine whether performance issues are originating in the end-to-end IPv6 environment. Companies that have deployed IPv6 websites must utilize native IPv6 performance monitoring to isolate Service-Level Agreement (SLA) issues for these sites as IPv4 monitoring alone cannot isolate IPv6 QoS issues.

External IPv6 Performance Monitoring Benefits

To prevent the aforementioned problems, some companies hire a full-time, onsite professional to regularly perform diagnostics and monitoring on network systems. Safer than leaving the health of critical systems unmonitored and data unmaintained, the costs, however, are sometimes a painful liability.

The cost of a full-time network professional is high, especially when the benefits, taxes, cost of necessary equipment and software to perform the job, etc…is factored into the cost along with salary. Often, companies do not have large enough network systems to fully occupy a full-time network employee, or to justify the added cost.

In short, this method is risky and problematic, as it fails to address the specific IPv6 monitoring needs of the business in a cost-effective and targeted manner.  For many companies working with an external IPv6 performance monitoring service provider is an excellent option.

IPv6 performance management and SLA monitoring becomes more important for businesses and organizations deploying IPv6 websites, while at the same time it is more complicated due to the co-existence of IPv4 and IPv6, the exponential size of IPv6 addressing and routing, and the lack of a killer application to drive wide-scale and accelerated IPv6 deployment.

While adding a network employee is an option,  organizations and business opting for the external performance monitoring services  avoid the long-term costs of added resources,  and hiring for the IPv6 expertise needed to monitor the network system.

Moreover the services offered external IPv6 performance monitoring providers are targeted and on-demand, including:

  • A proven, experienced team of IPv6 performance monitoring professionals working behind the scenes
  • Specific equipment and software tools needed to monitor IPv6 and maintain the network
  • Regular maintenance and performance tuning, alarms
  • Fast response times in the event of a system issue
  • Multi-tiered, on-demand, affordable services customized to a company’s size and needs
  • Less downtime/revenue loss due to network problems
  • The peace of mind that comes with knowing the IPv6 monitoring system was specifically designed for its purpose

With the ongoing switch to IPv6 occurring, most network professionals recognize the need to properly backup, maintain, and perform the network system that organizations are dependent on. However, these same network professionals are also hampered by the time, complexity, and high costs required to both maintain incumbent IT systems and address challenges brought by new technologies, like IPv6. Adding additional onsite personnel to address IPv6 issues is a costly approach. Therefore, having an external IPv6 performance monitoring service is an efficient and cost-effective option for many organizations and businesses.

IPv6 Performance Monitoring Challenges

While the benefits of IPv6 are apparent, performance management will becomes inherently more difficult in part because a single IPv6 subnet is as large as the entire Internet today.

Many performance monitoring solutions that worked for IPv4, will not work with IPv6. As with IPv4, IPv6 QoS is implemented at Layer 2 and Layer 3 of the TCP/IP stack.

A number of passive network management vendors support IPv6, but while these tools may comply with IPv6, some may not include the evolving feature set needed for IPv6 support. Also, passive monitoring is unlikely to properly detect IPv6 performance issues experienced by an end user, or a web-enabled business. And for many businesses deploying IPv6 the end user experience is the most critical element of QoS. Finally, some external performance monitoring services are not IPv6-enabled, in which case, their monitoring will not detect IPv6-related website, nor network issues.

Benefits of monitoring IPv6

There are several reasons to actively monitor IPv6 websites in a native environment:

  • Because there’s a gap between IPv6 capabilities and current network management tools, active monitoring is essential.
  • As with any new technology, there is the potential for flaws, which may impact uptime and performance.
  • IPv6 will lead to larger networks that directly address more network devices, increasing overall system complexity and potential for errors.
  • IPv6 end-to-end security features, while improving security, will make it harder to analyze network traffic.

Where does Dotcom-Monitor fit in?

Businesses that adapt IPv6 can monitor and report on the availability and performance of their IPv6-enabled websites and web applications by using Dotcom-MonitorIPv6 Performance Monitoring. IPv6 vastly expands address and routing capabilities. Dotcom-Monitor IPv6 Performance Monitoring provides IPv6 network professionals with access to the necessary tools to monitor all aspects of their systems during their transition to IPv6.

IPv6 issues Tools to Use What to look for:
Allow ICMPv6 through firewalls Free Ping – Instant Test here Pinging from the worldwide Internet backbone locations will show if packets are getting through to destination, shows network latency, and packet loss percentage results
Increased Latency to your IPv6 Content Ping Monitoring – Free Trial Since the IPv6 environment is dynamic and will change due to internal and external ongoing network adjustments, therefore consistent monitoring will ensure notification when issues occur
Configuring a firewall Free Trace-route – Instant Test here Trace-route from the worldwide Internet backbone locations will show hops in the network where there are issues
General IPv6-related content Trace-route Monitoring –Free Trial The IPv6 environment is dynamic and will change due to ongoing network adjustments, therefore consistent monitoring will ensure notification when network issues occur
IPv6 Complexity ServerView and UserView Monitoring – Free Trial Dotcom-Monitor services are IPv6-enabled. Monitoring companies that are not IPv6-enabled will not be able to monitor for content served via IPv6-related processes etc…

As with all Dotcom-Monitor services, IPv6 Performance Monitoring is simple to use and easy to access, which enables users to custom-configure notification and escalation parameters, 1-minute, 3, 5, 10 15-minute monitoring frequencies, as well as the automated performance alerts sent via email, SMS, phone etc. Full reporting functionality with real-time dashboards, water-fall charts and interactive drill-down reports are also included in the user’s account.

Product Features

  • Monitors can be set up to target IPv4, IPv6, or both
  • Advanced DNS monitoring
  • Detailed Root Cause Analysis, including automated webpage snapshots and trace-routes
  • Automated alerting via email, SMS, Phone etc.
  • Extensive real-time reporting
  • Transaction monitoring for IPv6 sites – to verify login pages and shopping carts etc
  • Access to IPv6 enabled diagnostic tools for ping, trace route and site checks.

Conclusion

With the advent of extensive IPv6 usage a certainty, an active external IPv6 performance monitoring service is critical. With ongoing tests and monitoring network and website managers will have a view into end-user connectivity related to IPv6 issues and the ability to receive instant notifications whenever a problem occurs resulting in reduced impacts to company revenues and reputation, as well as peak performance.

Useful Links

For free IPv6 instant tests conducted from worldwide locations:

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