How exactly will you get your IPv6 addresses?

NTIA is finalizing plans to assist agencies secure addresses

OMB and the CIO Council set up an IPv6 working group, led by John McManus, NASA's deputy CIO and CTO, to help agencies meet the deadline.

Rick Steele

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is devising a plan to make sure agencies get their share of the billions and billions of addresses that will become available under IP Version 6.

Even with the deadline to move to the new protocols more than two years away, several agencies have already contacted the Commerce Department bureau to sign up, said Carol Bales, a senior policy analyst at the Office of Management and Budget.

To improve its management, NTIA is finalizing the process by which agencies can request IPv6 addresses, Bales said recently at a workshop on IPv6 transition co-sponsored by the CIO Council's Best Practices Committee and the Industry Advisory Council and American Council for Technology in Washington.

'We will have more firm details on how that will work,' said Bales, who is on detail from the Energy Department to OMB to work on IPv6. 'This way, individual agencies will not contact NTIA.'

NTIA is working with the General Services Administration to set up the process, Bales added.

One of the benefits of IPv6 is the almost limitless number of IP addresses that are available. These addresses would be assigned to mobile devices such as cell phones, personal digital assistants and a host of other devices that could be connected to the Internet.

OMB has given agencies until June 2008 to migrate their network backbones to the technology, with a host of other deadlines in the meantime.

To help agencies meet the deadline, OMB and the CIO Council set up an IPv6 working group led by John McManus, NASA's deputy CIO and chief technology officer.

The group is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to determine whether new technical guidance is needed for agencies to implement IPv6.
'NIST would not develop new standards, but look at existing ones and determine which ones should be used by agencies,' Bales said. 'The guidance may cover IPv6 networks or security or other issues as agencies' needs come up.'

The working group also will issue three more guidance documents to help agencies implement the new technology. The documents were supposed to be issued by Jan. 31, but have not been released at press time.

Bales said the CIO Council guidance follows a November document, known as Chapter 1, detailing how agencies should incorporate IPv6 into their enterprise architectures and strategic plans.

Chapter 2 will talk about the technical details of how to develop a transition plan. Chapter 3 will detail how to set up governance of IPv6 implementation. And Chapter 4 will discuss procurement and acquisition issues.

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