Working group to offer IPv6 recommendations

The CIO Council’s IPv6 Working Group plans to submit to the Office of Management and Budget its recommendations on standards for the mandated IPv6 transition that is 19 months away, said Peter Tseronis, co-chair of the working group on Monday. The group plans to have its recommendations in OMB's hands before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, agency technologists and engineers in charge of the transition are scratching their heads about what to do and what IPv6 compliance means regarding products, added Tseronis, who is also director of network services at the Education Department.

The recommendations will not be the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s official stance. The special publication will be based on research the working group’s subcommittee on standards has done with universities’ and task forces’ laboratories, such as the University of New Hampshire and the Internet Engineering Task Force, said Tseronis who was part of a panel on IPv6 at a luncheon hosted by the Washington DC Technology Council.

The Office of Management and Budget issued a memo Aug. 2, 2005, requiring agencies to build IPv6 network backbones by June 30, 2008. The protocol is one of the primary instruments that define how and where information moves across networks. Currently, IPv4 is the industry standard. IPv6 is designed to significantly increase address space, promote flexibility and functionality and enhance security.

The report will inform officials, who are determining standards and expectations for agencies’ transition to IPv6, what different groups are setting as their priorities for deciding on standards. Tseronis said groups have set discrete test criteria for compliance. Nevertheless the report will provide officials references on which they can arrange benchmarks.

Will the report clearly define compliance? Tseronis said he is unsure.

“Frankly, the government is just trying to universally come up with a standard or a profile that says, ‘Hey agencies…this is what you must comply with,’ ” he said.

At the Education Department, Tseronis said his co-workers are concerned about the transition. “They’re scratching their heads over some of the definitions that have been thrown out there,” he said.

Product terms such as IPv6-capable, or IPv6-ready -- or compliant or enabled -- float around and the teams leading the shift don't have standard definitions for them, Tseronis said.

Varied standards of testing are happening in labs, but the most important test for agencies is to hear OMB's approval, he added.

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