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Since the 2020 lockdown, numerous people worldwide have been gainfully employed, engaged and productive thanks to their capability to study, work and have entertainment through broadband connections. In this period, telecommunications service vendors have done an exceptional job of addressing the increased traffic volume and the sudden change in its nature while keeping a solid cybersecurity posture.

Initially, the pandemic caused internet traffic to go up 50% more as compared to 2020 figures. It came down somewhat over the 2020 second quarter, but the average monthly usage was up around 36% in relation to the same time the year before. Service providers made quick and essential adjustments and investments to aid in keeping people productive. There have been more network-straining factors than just the increased network capacity requirement. Almost every service provider over-provisions its networks and was therefore ready for the unexpected spike in traffic. However, there was an immense effect on other pieces of technologies with limited capacity, including available pools of IPv6 and IPv4 addresses.

Numerous telecommunications service vendors have expanded their CGNAT (Carrier-Grade NAT) infrastructure to attend to that address pool, notwithstanding the rise in connected devices, internet use, and subscribers. The internet, as we know it, is now at an extremely crowded point. The first IP to be utilized publicly, namely IPv4, was made to support around 4 billion devices. Over time, regional internet registries have run out of IPv4 addresses. Experts developed two pieces of technology to address the issue: IPv6 and NAT (Network Address Translation). A protocol made in 1998, IPv6 can support numerous addresses.

There are ample IPv6 addresses, but over two decades after its development, IPv4 is widely utilized and there is no sign of the latter technology disappearing. Like several technological transformation aspects, change has arrived more slowly as compared to what some forecasted. Almost every website in existence remains compatible with IPv4 alone. Only around 30% of global searches on Google use the IPv6 technology. This means over 66% of Google search queries tap into IPv4-compatible sites. Consequently, this is the kind of world where both IPv6 and IPv4 should coexist, perhaps for a long time.

The vendors should perhaps deploy a NAT strategy, including the process of preserving their existing Internet Protocol version 4 address space, while allowing for a plan to move into an IPv6-type infrastructure. This way, they can address the whole IP address migration lifecycle. These solutions have to be capable of handling millions of concurrent connections, scaling dynamically and offering the highest availability levels with no disruption.

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