Many agencies to miss IPv6 deadline

Most federal agencies will miss the Sept. 30 deadline by which their public-facing websites are supposed to support Internet Protocol version 6. An official weekly snapshot provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology showed that as of Sept. 26, just 11 percent of the 1,498 government external domains tested had operational IPv6 support.  Another 35 percent have the support in progress, but a full 54 percent showed no progress.

(See the complete list of domains included in the testing here.)

IPv6 conversionsThe government is doing better than industry, however, which showed only 1 percent of sites with full support and another 28 percent in progress.

NIST cautions that its results are only estimates. Still, the numbers suggest the government still has some way to go to meet the Obama Administration’s mandate, issued in 2010 by former U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra. NIST looks to see whether a given domain supports IPv6 in three components: the domain name system -- which translates the numerical IP address into something intelligible to humans, such as fcw.com -- e-mail and the web.

There is urgency driven by the mandate, but there is also urgency driven by the dwindling number of available addresses under IPv4, the old standard. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which manages the global allocation of IP addresses, assigned the final available blocks to regional registries in early 2011, and  some of those regional allocations have already been exhausted.  IPv6 affords an exponentially larger number of unique IP addresses (79,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times as many as IPv4), which will be vital for the increasingly networked world.

Akamai, a company that provides products and services to enable agencies to make the transition, has seen an increase in the level of priority, said Christine Schweikert, senior engagement manager with the company. "With the upcoming deadline, we're finding that the transition to IPv6 is really top of mind for U.S. government agencies," she said a few days before the deadline.

Akamai uses dual-stacked servers to aid the transition, allowing an agency to run IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously. She likened it to learning a new language. "Over time, as IPv6 clients become more ubiquitous, you speak less and less IPv4 and eventually, IPv6 becomes your native language," she said.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group