April 19, 2012, 8:57 PM — U.S. federal government agencies must meet an aggressive deadline of Sept. 30, 2012, to deploy IPv6 on their public-facing websites, under an Obama administration initiative. But with less than five months to go, more than 99% of federal websites aren't supporting the next-gen Internet Protocol on their DNS, email and Web services.
The Obama administration issued a directive in the fall of 2010 that requires agencies to support IPv6 on their public-facing Web services by the end of this federal fiscal year. There is a second step to the Obama administration mandate that requires agencies to support IPv6 on their internal, operational networks by Sept. 30, 2014. It's unclear what the consequences of not meeting the mandates will be.
BACKGROUND: Fed's IPv6 plan called a "game changer"
Experts say federal IPv6 deployment has lagged due to a lack of support for the emerging standard by government contractors, including carriers and content delivery networks as well as their network equipment suppliers.
"Agencies are supposed to have the general Internet-based services that are available to citizens support IPv6," said Dale Geesey, COO at government contractor Auspex Technologies, at last week's North American IPv6 Summit in Denver. "It's a big challenge from a federal perspective."
Geesey said the Federal CIO Council has an IPv6 task force that meets weekly and that agency IPv6 transition managers are meeting monthly to help the government hit this aggressive goal. "We continue to move forward," he said.
A survey conducted weekly by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that only five organizations have successfully deployed IPv6 on their DNS, email and websites as required by the mandate. These organizations are: the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Defense Research and Engineering Network, Defense High Performance Computing, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.
In total, only 10 out of 1,565 domains operated by federal agencies were able to pass NIST's tests for IPv6 support on DNS, email and Web this week. That's not even 1% of the total number of domains tested.