IPv6 in Canada

Canada by the numbers

Population: 33,390,141

Percent of population with Internet access: 65.9

Percent of population with broadband access: 23

Total IPv4 addresses/world share: 71,921,000/1.9 percent

Lead government agency: Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/welcome.htm


Table Sources: InternetWorldStats.com (population and percent with Internet access are from various sources, percent with broadband is from International Telecommunication Union); BGExpert.com, IPv4 addresses, compiling daily from regional Internet registries.

While taking many of its cues from its southern neighbor, is moving less aggressively, according to several sources.


"Canada is quiet, I would say," said Marc Blanchet, president of ViaGenie, a Quebec City consulting firm that specializes in advanced networking, including IPv6. "Things are moving, but there’s no important direction yet."


That statement applies to both the government and private sectors.


"The Canadian government hasn’t done any statement or policy about IPv6, really," Blanchet said. "A few large providers in are at various stages of deployment. Nothing has been announced yet."


Blanchet said ViaGenie recently assisted a province, which he can’t name, in writing a request for proposals that required service providers to support IPv6. He noted that a research network, CNET2, upgraded to IPv6 in the late 1990s.


Much of Canada’s IPv6 development is centered on Canadian Advanced Network and Research for Industry and Education, or CANARIE, a nonprofit corporation funded by IT and telecom vendors, research organizations and the federal government. CANARIE is equivalent to the United States' Internet2 next-generation network.


"We operate an IPv6 dual stack — which nobody uses," said Bill St. Arnaud, CANARIE’s chief research officer and an admitted skeptic who derides IPv6 as an additional cost with no clear-cut value.


"There’s no demand," he said, adding that allowing trading among organizations who sit on "gobs and gobs" of unused IPv4 address space would go a long way toward solving the problem without IPv6.


Blanchet and St. Arnaud said the Canadian Defense Ministry has been closely watching progress of the IPv6 mandate in the U.S. Department of Defense.


"The Canadian military is saying, ‘We are experimenting with it, and we will move to IPv6 when we are ready for it, and not a minute before,’" St. Arnaud said.


St. Arnaud summed up his country’s cautious approach: "We’re very much dependent on what happens in the We’re not going to chart our own course."



Essex is a freelance technology writer.

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