IPv6-only networks by 2011, one engineer hopes
Not all fields of endeavor appear to be as collectively organized as well as the federal government when it comes to migrating to version 6 of the Internet Protocol. Now, an engineer from the Internet Engineering Task Force has posted a proposed timetable for all organizations and service providers to move to the new protocol.
In short, we may start to have IPv6-only networks as soon as 2011, if this plan takes hold.
"One of the challenges [the migration] poses is that it's very easy to get caught up in the various transition approaches and miss the high-level view of what needs to be accomplished," engineer and draft author John Curran wrote in a dispatch announcing the paper sent to the mailing list of the North American Network Operators' Group (NANOG).
Curran proposes that migration to IPv6 happen in three stages. The first stage, which would happen between now and the end of 2008, would be a preparatory stage in which organizations would start to run IPv6 servers, though these servers would not be considered by outside parties as production servers. Organizations would also work toward providing support for IPv6-based services to their users.
The second stage, which would take place in 2009 and 2010, would require organizations to offer IPv6 for Internet-facing servers, which could be used as production servers by outside parties. By this time, internal users in these organizations should have access to IPv6 services.
Finally, in the third stage, starting in 2011, IPv6 must be in use by public-facing servers. Service providers may still offer IPv4 connectivity, though organizations are free to start removing IPv4-based connectivity.
Curran stressed that this plan is only a working one, and sought feedback from NANOG.
Reactions to the proposal on the NANOG list have been varied, but most were skeptical. "The reality is that the world is far more diverse than a few [requests for comments] can depict, and further[more], we don't have a lot of folks with real world experience (yet) who can provide feedback on the viability of these plans," one individual wrote.
"I'm wondering if we should really be considering a 'transition' plan at this point," another commenter wrote. "From what I can see, there will be many IPv4-only networks around for many years to come. The technology doesn't have an expiration date."
If this plan is adopted on a broad scale, the U.S. government should take pride in knowing that it would be far ahead of schedule. The Office of Management and Budget decreed in 2005 that agency networks must be able to ingest IPv6 packets by July 1, 2008. Some agencies, however, are further along in upgrading than others.
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