Acceptance of IP v.6 drags

Internet Protocol Version 6 has captured few early converts among IT executives and policymakers in the United States despite its many benefits.

Lead supporters of the protocol include the Defense Department and a few corporations and agencies that are migrating to IP v.6 to take advantage of its billions of Web addresses, enhanced security and advanced capabilities for military, net-centric operations and other new technologies.

But the United States is believed to be behind Japan and Korea in preparing for the advanced Internet, and some policy officials are urging clarification of policies governing it.

"It is vital that the U.S. maintains strong leadership in the Internet and all of the enterprises touched by information technology," said Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, in a statement released by IP v.6 Summit Inc., a conference firm.

"Because the new Internet has profound consequences for both our national security and the growth of business and innovation, we need to clarify what policies and issues need to be addressed to support both our national interests and our ability to effectively work with key global partners," Davis said.

Few IT executives consider migration to the IP v.6 an important goal, according to survey of 349 government and corporate IT executive by Juniper Networks Inc., a solutions provider in Sunnydale, Calif.

Fewer than 7 percent of the respondents consider IP v.6 "very important to achieving their IT goals," even though more than 80 percent require improved Internet quality of service, security and network management ? all key benefits of IP v.6, Juniper said.

Most federal IT executives lag behind the private sector in transitioning to IP v.6. Only 54 percent of federal IT employees are aware of IP v.6, in comparison to 69 percent of private-sector employees, according to the survey in which 220 federal and 69 private-sector IT executives were polled by O'Keeffe & Co. public relations firm on Juniper's behalf.

"The Department of Defense is focused on accelerating IP v.6 transition as a critical infrastructure building block in enabling net-centric defense transformation," said Charles Lynch, technical director of the IP v.6 transition office for the Defense Information Systems Agency, in a statement released by Juniper. "Clearly agencies need to redouble their efforts in this area, and we have significant work ahead of us."

Government and industry need to work together to educate IT decisionmakers on the benefits of IP v.6, said Thomas Kreidler, Juniper Federal Systems vice president.

Published by the Internet Engineering Task Force in 1995, IP v.6 provides more addresses and supports more new technologies than the current protocol, IP v.4.

Despite the lack of interest in the conversion, the prospect that the Internet may run out of new Web addresses within the next five years may provide the impetus for more corporations to begin migration plans, according to IP v.6 Summit.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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