NTIA to hand out IPv6 addresses for agencies

The deadline to move to Internet Protocol version 6 may be more than two years away, but agencies already are getting in line for IPv6 addresses.

Several agencies already have contacted the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration to sign up, said Carol Bales, a senior policy analyst at the Office of Management and Budget.

To better manage the process, NTIA in the next three weeks will make public a process by which agencies can request IPv6 addresses, Bales said yesterday during 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.

'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 others that could be connected to the Internet.

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

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

The group will work 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,' she 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 by Jan. 31 to help agencies implement the new technology.

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.

Bales also said OMB requested a Federal Acquisition Regulations Case from the FAR Council to give agencies instruction on how to incorporate IPv6 goods and services into contracts. She said the case should be available to agencies for comment by late February.

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