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IPv6 Transition Plan Needed

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
IPv6 Transition Plan Needed

15 December 2008 - Following a workshop convened by the Ministry of Economic Development, major ICT industry and stakeholder organizations have agreed on the need for New Zealand to develop a transition plan from IPv4 to IPv6, the next generation Internet addressing protocol. The transition plan will include education, and identification and removal of roadblocks to IPv6 deployment.

There is growing urgency for the Internet to support both IPv4 and IPv6, which together will offer vastly increased resources. More than one million new devices connect to the Internet every week and the pool of four billion IPv4 addresses is expected to be exhausted by 2010. IPv6 supports a much larger pool of addresses, enough to assign an IP address to each grain of sand in a fine layer covering the entire planet.

Internet advocacy group InternetNZ, a key sponsor of IPv6-related initiatives in New Zealand, has agreed to provide continued support for furthering IPv6 as a national industry initiative under the auspices of the Digital Development Forum. The forum is a multi-stakeholder initiative designed to promote New Zealand's transition into the digital economy.

The workshop was held on 28 November in Wellington and saw the formation of an IPv6 Steering Group, which includes representatives from telecommunications carriers, internet service providers, ICT vendors, and industry and user associations. A complete list of stakeholder organizations is included at end of this release.

Telecommunications industry consultant Dr Murray Milner has been confirmed as independent convenor for the steering group. Milner says IPv6 provides much more flexibility in allocating addresses, and will allow Internet growth in New Zealand to keep pace with the expected worldwide trend.

InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson says the initiative is more than welcomed and indicates increasing recognition that IPv6 deployment will be a business-critical issue as IPv4 exhaustion looms.

While this is not a Y2K scenario, unless New Zealand has a clear plan for the introduction of IPv6 then there is an increased risk of Internet black holes developing. "This may mean that communication via the internet may not be possible in the near future between parts of New Zealand's IPv4-based Internet and certain developing countries such as China and India, where IPv6-only Internet infrastructure is currently being deployed," says ISPANZ President Jamie Baddeley.

Digital Development Council Executive Director Paul Alexander points out that it is not time to panic but it is time for the ICT industry to get organised and reach out to the wider business community to explain the issue.

CEO of the Telecommunications Carrier's Forum Ralph Chivers says that progress can only be made with a co-coordinated and concerted effort across the ICT sector to ensure New Zealand has a timely and trouble-free transition to IPv6.

IPv6 was highlighted in Digital Strategy 2.0, which mirrored the growing urgency expressed in global ICT technical forums on the need for leadership amongst key industry stakeholders in transitioning to IPv6.

IPv4 was deployed in the mid 1980's, at a time when billions of Internet connections were never contemplated. IPv6 has been under development since the mid 1990's, and currently exists in small pockets around the world.

TUANZ Chief Executive Ernie Newman says that users welcome the initiative and that TUANZ stands ready to take an active part in educating users once equipment suppliers and the registry have ensured they are fully prepared and have clarified the major steps users need to take.

Next steps include development of a technical education plan to stimulate IPv6 skills in New Zealand's ICT and academic sectors. This will be followed by development of a roadmap for the deployment of IPv6 for New Zealand and a business sector outreach programme. A national IPv6 Hui anticipated for September 2009 is also planned.

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