US Government Plan to Move to IPv6-only

Lee HowardInsightsLeave a Comment

On March 2, 2020, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a request for comments (RFC) to a memo outlining stages to move to IPv6-only:

The memo includes certain migration milestones:CIO Council

  1. At least 20% of IP-enabled assets on Federal networks are IPv6-only by the end of FY 2023;
  2. At least 50% of IP-enabled assets on Federal networks are IPv6-only by the end of FY 2024;
  3. At least 80% of IP-enabled assets on Federal networks are IPv6-only by the end of FY 2025
  4. Identify and justify Federal information systems that cannot be converted to use IPv6 and provide a schedule for replacing or retiring these systems

Also a footnote: “Note that for public Internet services, maintaining viable IPv4 interfaces and transition mechanisms at the edge of service infrastructure may be necessary for additional time, but this does not preclude operating the backend infrastructure as IPv6-only.”

Many in the IP addressing community in North America might think this will have no more effect than the 2005 OMB memo or the  2010 OMB memo or the Federal Acquisition Rules (FAR). While those efforts had some success, Those memos have been described as being “top down” and providing unfunded mandates. This memo apparently included support from the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) of the various agencies. Since these are the people who have to do the work and find the budget, their imprimatur is key.

That footnote is important since the majority of the world’s Internet traffic is still over IPv4. Statistics show that IPv6 utilization is higher when people are at home, such as on weekends, holidays, or in quarantine. That suggests that IPv6 deployment lags among enterprise networks. If 80% of government equipment is running IPv6 in five years without needing IPv4, they will have eliminated many of the hurdles to IPv6 adoption.

Within five years of that time, it may be that IPv6 becomes the default protocol, and IPv4 is only used for backward compatibility. In the meantime, networks are still growing and buying IPv4 addresses. Let’s check-in in 2023 to see how the USG is doing on its 20% goal.



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