[arin-ppml] The role of NAT in IPv6

Chris Engel cengel at sponsordirect.com
Mon Mar 29 12:00:35 EDT 2010

This discussion never ceases to amaze me... though it is very similar to some I've experienced in the IETF NAT66 mailing list. On the one hand...you have alot of folks moaning about why IPv6 adoption is so slow...and the problems that are going to be caused by that to the internet as a whole... and wondering what can be done to spur quicker adoption.

Then when some people come along and say.... You know I'd be more likely to consider adopting IPv6 but it doesn't support X (fill in whatever you want for X) and I really need/want to use X. You turn around and dismiss them saying.... oh you're wrong, X is evil. We should never support X...in fact we should do everything we can to prevent X from being supported in IPv6.
Then you wonder why the very same people aren't falling all over themselves to adopt IPv6?

As an analogy...imagine you're selling phones. You put your brand new yellow phone out on the market and discover that sales are flat. Some portion of your customer base turns around and says... "You know...I'd consider your phone, but I really need it in black."  You respond "Oh black is a horrible color.... you should never use black. You don't need black... WE know what you need... you need yellow. You can have any color that you want.... as long as it's YELLOW."
Then you turn around and scratch your heads wondering why you aren't selling more phones.

I don't know about the average home user. I'm sure most of them don't care about the technical details of how thier internet service is delivered to them/configured....as long as they can get to the sites they want. However for the Enterprise customers... NAT is considered very important. I can think of at least a half dozen ways in which it is useful to me.... have posted them before to this list. I can only think of a single incident where NAT caused any difficulty to me while working here....and that was a very minor and unimportant issue.

I hate to tell you all this but...IF IPv6 does see general adoption...NAT/PAT (including many:1 NAT) WILL eventualy be running under it. The reason is simple....there are too many people just like me that find it useful and are willing to pay for it. Eventualy there WILL be vendors who recognize that demand and want to CASH IN on it. They will find a way to make it work in IPv6 even if it involves some very ugly hacks to the protocol.... and you WILL be living on an internet that involves NAT. The only thing that you will achieve by fighting to make NAT harder to use in IPv6 is slowing the adoption of IPv6 itself.

Christopher Engel

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