Survey: Industry will be ready for IPv6

Vendors believe the government's transition to IPv6 will significantly accelerate the development of commercial products and services

Officials from defense and civilian agencies believe that in five years almost three-quarters of their technology components will be IPv6-enabled, according to a new survey. Although few agency components can use the new IP now, the information technology industry is preparing for that new market.

The Office of Management and Budget issued a memo Aug. 2, 2005, that directs agencies to build IPv6 network backbones by June 30, 2008.

Protocols are one of the primary instruments for defining how and where information moves across networks. IPv6 is a significant upgrade from the current IPv4 because it will increase address space, offer  flexibility and enhance security.

Industry respondents to Juniper Networks’ second annual IPv6 Government Action Study said they believe the federal government’s transition to IPv6 will significantly accelerate the development of related commercial products and services.

About 200 of nearly 300 survey respondents from the private sector — about 67 percent — said they would develop in IPv6-related products.

Respondents also said they believe the government’s transition to IPv6 will increase awareness of the new protocol and influence the growth of related products and services.

“We think industry sees a market, and they’re ready to move forward,” said Chuck Lynch, co-founder and senior partner at SynExi, a technology consulting firm in Fairfax, Va., which worked on the survey.

According to the study, IPv6 could influence about $97 billion in government spending by 2011, as the new protocol becomes a greater factor in IT procurements. Defense and civilian agency respondents said that in the next two years, IPv6 will be a major factor in more than half of their purchases.

IPv6 acquisitions in fiscal 2007 and 2008 will likely focus on training, testing and engineering services, and production equipment, said Peter Tseronis, director of network services at the Education Department and co-chairman of the CIO Council’s IPv6 Working Group.

Agencies are assessing their technologies and making plans to buy IPv6-capable products. Officials are working closely with vendors to learn more about their IPv6-ready products, Tseronis said at a DC Tech Council luncheon Nov. 13.

Experts say neither the government nor industry was originally motivated to invest in the next generation of IP. But as they became aware of the many improvements that the new protocol could offer, it became an essential aspect of agencies’ IT strategies.

Now, the OMB mandate is pushing agencies to use IPv6, and agencies are seeking vendors and consultants for help.

Stan Tyliszczak, senior director of technology integration at General Dynamics Information Technologies, said agencies want the private sector’s technical expertise on IPv6. And once they have certification for their IPv6 plans, they will want an architecture and a design for moving beyond the IPv6-ready backbone, he said.
What the IPv6 survey showsJuniper Networks recently released the results of the second annual IPv6 Government Action Study, in which 1,076 people participated. It asked officials in defense and civilian agencies, state and local governments, and the information technology industry what they think about the new IP version. The Office of Management and Budget has directed all agencies to begin making plans for a switch to IPv6 by 2008.

Here are some of the survey’s findings.
  • 85 percent of respondents believe the federal government should play an active role in industry’s adoption of IPv6.
  •  53 percent say the government should give guidance and some level of funding to support the U.S. commercial transition to IPv6.
  • 75 percent believe a centralized IPv6 transition office could best serve the shift to the protocol.
  • 87 percent, 73 percent and 63 percent of defense, civilian, and state and local entities, respectively, say their agencies will be IPv6-capable within five years.
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