Agencies must prepare for IPv6

Read the testimony as presented to the House Government Reform Committee

The move to the next generation of Internet technologies is inevitable, but civilian agencies that planned to take it slow received a wake-up call last month. Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget's administrator for e-government and information technology, set a June 2008 deadline for civilian agencies to add the new technology to their network backbones.

The Defense Department has already started migrating from the current IP Version 4 to IPv6, the new technology. But a Government Accountability Office report released in May shows that civilian agencies have done almost nothing to prepare for the migration.

IPv6 will offer a greatly expanded number of unique Internet addresses. IPv4 can support about 4.3 billion addresses, while IPv6 will offer 340 trillion trillion trillion, expressed in scientific notation as 3.4 x 1,038. The technology also features tighter security and easier network management, according to its proponents.

The task is made easier by network hardware and software makers that are already adding IPv6 support to their products, said Ben Schultz, managing engineer of the interoperability lab at the University of New Hampshire. The applications that use the technology are available and waiting for agencies to upgrade network backbones, he said.

"I've really seen it take off in development and the equipment vendors," Schultz said. "In terms of meeting that deadline, I think that is possible if and only if people continue their current development efforts. I don't see any real signs that they're not going to."

However, Schultz counseled caution. Agencies should understand why they must make the transition and plan for the best way to do it, he said. "IPv6 overall is a good thing," he said. "In the long run, it's best for everybody if we move to that. But I think it's best if we ask the hard questions of why we're doing what we're doing."

Unlike upgrading systems to accommodate four-digit year fields, which was necessary to solve the date problem when the calendar switched from 1999 to 2000, the switch to IPv6 won't be instant, he added.

Although vendors' efforts may smooth the transition, Evans said, it still won't be simple. "Since there is a large embedded base of IPv4-compatible equipment and applications, transitioning to IPv6 will also require large capital investments and labor resources," she testified last month before the House Government Reform Committee. "While the challenges are significant, they are not insurmountable, especially if we approach them methodically and in phases."

A memo that Evans promised to issue shortly will outline four steps for agencies to follow, she said. Agencies must also assign a single person to lead and coordinate the agency's planning, which must include developing an inventory of the agency's IP-capable devices and technologies. That inventory will give agency officials a good grasp of what they will need to migrate from the old technology to the new.

Finally, they must conduct an impact analysis to determine the fiscal and operational risks of making the transition.

A fifth directive in the memo will address the CIO Council, which must develop detailed guidance on implementing IPv6 this year.

All of those requirements prepare for the 2008 deadline. "Once the network backbones are ready, the applications and other elements will follow," Evans said. "Setting this firm date is necessary to maintain focus on this important issue."

Alex Lightman, chief executive officer of Charmed Technology and the IPv6 Summit, said some nations, particularly in Asia, are ahead of the United States in making the move.

"What makes the transition in Korea and Japan so powerful is that the people who lead [those efforts] are elected officials," he said. "They stand alone."

NEXT STORY: Vendors await FAA telecom plan

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.