Kundra released the IPv6 memo in conjunction with an IPv6 workshop held by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today. The workshop featured high-profile executives from government, industry and Internet policymaking organizations who urged the federal government to set a deadline for IPv6-enabling their Web sites.
The workshop represented the first time the Obama Administration has given IPv6 any publicity in the 21 months it has been in office. Indeed, government insiders said Kundra didn't ask them about agencies' progress on IPv6 until last week, when he began preparing for NTIA's workshop.
IPv6 is the biggest upgrade in the 40-year history of the Internet. Forward-looking carriers and enterprises are deploying IPv6 because the Internet is running out of IP addresses using the current standard, known as IPv4.
IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet. IPv6, on the other hand, uses 128-bit addresses and supports a virtually unlimited number of devices -- 2 to the 128th power.
About 94.5% of IPv4 address space has been allocated as of Sept. 3, 2010, according to ARIN. Experts say IPv4 addresses could run out as early as this December but will certainly be gone by the end of 2011.This is the second time the President's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has established a mandate for federal agencies related to the deployment of IPv6. Back in 2005, the Bush Administration established and later met a deadline of June 2008 for all federal agencies to demonstrate IPv6 connectivity over their backbone networks.
Kundra's follow-on IPv6 directive was met with a positive reaction among industry experts, who said the deadlines were reasonable.
"It's pragmatic," Mohan says. "They are saying that by fall 2012 they will get their outward-facing systems compatible with IPv6 and that by the end of fiscal 2014 they will get everything internal done. On top of that, they are assigning IPv6 managers inside government. I thought one of the best things they did was the fourth directive, which [requires] agencies to be fully IPv6 compatible."