WindowsNetworking.com Monthly Newsletter of January 2011 Sponsored by: ManageEngine
Welcome to the WindowsNetworking.com newsletter by Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP. Each month we will bring you interesting and helpful information on the world of Windows Networking. We want to know what all *you* are interested in hearing about. Please send your suggestions for future newsletter content to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The "end of the Internet" pops up every now and then as a topic of discussion. No, I'm not talking about some great electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that's going to wipe out all the electronics in the world. What I'm thinking of here is the end of the IPv4 Internet. For years, we've heard warnings that the number of available IPv4 addresses is becoming critically low. And this year, not only is that number going to become lower, but we're actually expected to run out of IPv4 addresses. You can see when this is most likely going to happen by checking out the IPv4 countdown clock. As you can see, that day is coming with a bullet - with complete exhaustion of the IPv4 address space occurring in less than a month at the current pace.
When that day comes, will it be the end of the Internet? That's pretty unlikely. Just because there aren't any more IP addresses available for allocation by IANA (the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) doesn't mean that there aren't any more IP addresses available to give to customers. Sound confusing? The "official" exhaustion of addresses tracked above just means that all the addresses have been allocated to existing providers. The providers who have their allocations still have plenty of addresses to give out to their customers - for the time being. However, the day is still going to come when the providers run out of IPv4 addresses to give out, in spite of efforts being made to reclaim addresses that aren't being used.
So what's the solution? You saw this coming: IPv6. Internet Protocol version 6 is the future of Internet and intranet networking. It's likely that you haven't spent much time with IPv6 because there really wasn't any need to learn about it. There wasn't a viable IPv6 Internet for you to connect to, and virtually no one was deploying IPv6 on their intranets. It's likely that is going to change this year when the newspapers start reporting the "end of the Internet' and the IPv4 address exhaustion. These newspaper headlines are going to get your boss's attention and you're going to need to respond. Companies are going to start getting serious about deploying IPv6, so you need to be ready. Now is the time to learn about IPv6.
When you first start to learn about IPv6, you'll notice that the addresses don't look very intuitive or easy to remember. That's because the addresses are 128 bits and use hexadecimal notation. At first you might think you'll never be able to remember them and that they make no sense, but over time you will get comfortable with them, just as you did with those dotted quad IPv4 addresses that seemed so mysterious at first - I promise! In fact, over time you'll see that it's actually a bit easier to work with IPv6 than with IPv4.
But that's the future, and this is now. Your first challenge is going to be how to integrate IPv6 into your current network. If your infrastructure is like most, you probably have a mix of IPv6 capable and IPv4 only applications and operating systems. While Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 can be made IPv6 capable, many of their services and tools aren't IPv6 capable, so if you want true IPv6 capable Windows operating systems, you'll need to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 or above and Windows Vista or above. In fact, IPv6 is a key reason why you're going to want to upgrade your network to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
But even if you upgrade your operating systems, you're still going to have some systems that aren't IPv6 capable. There are plenty of legacy systems out there that just can't be migrated. Most observers agree that hybrid IPv4/IPv6 networks are going to be the norm for the next ten years or so - but over time the percentage of IPv6 systems should continue to increase and the number of IPv4 only systems should decrease.
During the transition period, you'll want to segregate your network segments into IPv4 only and IPv6 capable. You can connect these networks to each other by using IPv6 transition technologies. The IPv6 transition technology that you'll use on your intranet is ISATAP (Intra-Site Automatic Tunnel Addressing Protocol). ISATAP adapters are enabled by default on all modern Windows operating systems. When these adapters are active, they send and receive IPv6 traffic that is encapsulated in an IPv4 header. This allows the IPv6 traffic to travel over an IPv4 routing infrastructure. And if you have an ISATAP router in place, these packets can travel over the IPv4 only infrastructure to an IPv6 capable infrastructure.
This year, I plan to write a number of articles on Windows and IPv6 for WindowsNetworking.com, so that you can get comfortable with the key concepts and addressing. Once you get over the initial hurdle, I think you'll find that working with IPv6 is a lot of fun!
By Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MVP
3. WindowsNetworking.com Articles of Interest
Windows 7 Windows Management
We tend to get lost in the administrative and security features of a new operating system, but sometimes the simplest changes result in the biggest productivity gain. The new window management features in Windows 7 do just that.
As IT pros, we typically only talk about administrative or management features of a new operating system when it comes out. But we should remember that, as network and systems administrators, one of our primary jobs is to make sure our users are educated on ways they can use their systems to be more productive. That being the case, the new window management features of Windows 7 are worth noting and relaying to your users because these features can result in a pretty big productivity gain when used on a regular basis.
One of the most noticeable differences is that, when you drag a window to either size of your desktop, it gets "snapped" to that side. This is the Aero Snap features, and it eliminates the need to spend time sizing two windows to fit side by side. It just happens "automagically". Along this same line of thought, dragging a window towards the top of the screen will maximize it, or dragging just its top edge will maximize it vertically only. Along with those quick snap options, there are several keyboard shortcuts that help manage windows just as easily, without using the mouse:
For more administrator tips, go to WindowsNetworking.com/WindowsTips
Windows 7 Calculator Does More than Add and Subtract
The new calculator that comes with Windows 7 does a lot more than you could do with previous versions of the calculator. If you click the View menu and hover over the Worksheets command, you can see several new capabilities included with the Windows "calc":
Go ahead! Give it a try. You’ll also see other new cool things, like a Statistics view.
VPN Reconnect is a network level VPN feature that uses an IPsec tunnel and IKEv2 and allows your users to connect to resources on your intranet. Unlike other VPN protocols used by Windows client operating systems, VPN Reconnect allows the client computer to automatically and transparently reconnect to the VPN server when the connection is dropped. This allows users to move from place to place and disconnect from one WAP and connect to another WAP, without having to manually re-establish a connection, or even switch from a wired to a wi-fi connection without losing the VPN connection. If you're using a WWAN card, you can disconnect from a cell tower when you're going through a tunnel and reconnect when the signal comes back. It takes a bit of configuration, but it's a pretty cool feature. You can learn more about VPN Reconnect from the following articles here and here.