U.S. Department of State Participation in World IPv6 Day
On June 8, the State Department joined Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks and other major organizations in offering their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour “test flight." The goal of the Test Flight Day was to motivate organizations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out. With the success of this test, the Department is well-placed to make the permanent transition to IPv6 in 2012.
Internet Protocol (IP) is the set of rules computers use to transmit data over the Internet. The existing protocol supporting the Internet today -- Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) -- provides the world with only 4 billion IP addresses, inherently limiting the number of devices that can be given a unique, globally routable location on the Internet. IPv6 provides the world with an almost unlimited number of available IP addresses, as well as significantly enhanced mobility features. Therefore, IPv6 is paramount to the continued growth of the Internet and development of new applications leveraging mobile, Internet connectivity. Although the IT community has come up with workarounds for this shortage in the IPv4 environment, IPv6 is viewed as the true long-term solution to this problem.
The Federal Government has requested that all agencies transition their network backbones to IPv6 for the following reasons:
- To take advantage of the expanded IP address space, and embrace future-oriented networking capabilities, such as converged communications, IP-aware medical devices, remote sensors, etc.;
- To address the challenge faced by the U.S. from international competition in the realm of IPv6; and
- To lead by example in U.S. enterprise IPv6 transformation.