The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and federal departments and bureaus within the U.S. government have been striving to implement the IPv6 Address system ever since it has been first mandated to be deployed in August 2, 2005. Seven years later, most of the systems were still unable to shift to the IPv6, although the US government had been successful at having agencies configure some of their systems to the IPv6. The deadline for the transition has been set at October 1, 2012, which had already passed two months ago without much success on the IPv6 transition.
Going back through the previous mandates that were issued, a mandate was issued, the Federal Chief Information Officer, last September 28, 2010, which stated that all federal public-facing web servers will be IPv6-capable by September 30, 2012 and all internal computers will be IPv6-capable by September 30, 2014. While some government agencies have taken worked hard to make sure that their systems are already upgraded to the IPv6 before the dates specified on the mandate, several other government organizations already knew that they would not be able to comply with the changes owing to the fact that there was a lack of energy on their part to complete the transition. Other federal organizations had prioritized the “unfunded mandate” accordingly, and still a few organizations shifted some of their web systems to the IPv6 without as much as a plan. This had resulted to the small government agencies failing in securing IPv6 communications having no measures to maintain and manage the IPv6 systems that they now have.
A government discussion panel was held during the recent gogo NET LIVE! 3 IPv6 Conference in San Jose, California, and the panelists had evaluated the transition procedures to the IPv6 and the reasons behind the failure of most organizations to perform the transition. It was found out that one of the key factors in the delay of the deployment of the IPv6 was the lack of information, industry knowledge, and experience with the IPv6 structure. Some of the organizations mentioned that the addressing plans of the IPv6 made them hesitate to deploy the transition because they were concerned that the addressing play might change in the long run. If the IPv6 addressing plans of an organization are not finalized, this might cause the organization to be paralyzed in their implementation of the IPv6 transition. Hence, there is a great need for large organizations to realize that the IPv6 is continuously evolving, just as the IPv4 is still evolving up to the present. A realization that the IPv6 is a work in progress will make it easy for them to implement addressing plans that can be changed in the future.
Other government groups had reported that they had issues with the Networx contract, which made them unable to implement the IPv6 system. The Networx GSA contract is a 10 year contract to provide telecom services to government organizations at a competitive rate structure, and it is stated in the contract that the service providers were capable of providing IPv6 services to their government clients, but only a few of them were able to deliver, rendering an organization that has already implemented the Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) into their system unable to utilize IPv6 Internet connectivity because of the service provider.
Other federal agencies reported that they were unable to meet the deadlines set by the mandates because the products of security vendors did not have stringent security features on the IPv6, and because of the lack of assurance in the security of the Internet systems once the IPv6 has been deployed, the organizations were hesitant and chose to not migrate to the IPv6.
The implementation of the IPv6 Address seems to be a long way before the “all systems go: green light can be flashed, but it was a good step for the US government to sort out the issues that had caused the federal organizations and agencies to fail in complying with the requirements of the mandates that were imposed. Identifying the problems that had rendered the implementation slow and ineffective would be the key points that the government has to work on in order to achieve a full implementation of the promising future of the IPv6 address structure.
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