Adoption Guide Outlines Strategy for IPv6 Transition

13 April 2011 - An IPv6 adoption guide has been developed for various stakeholders in the IPv6 ecosystem as part of efforts by IDA to drive IPv6 adoption in Singapore and to encourage efficient use of the remaining pool of IPv4 addresses to minimise the risks of depletion. The guide was produced as part of the second phase of an in-depth study commissioned by IDA to shed light on the current status of IPv6 adoption in Singapore and provide guidance in formulating the next steps. The study was conducted by Analysys Mason and Tech Mahindra.

Speaking at the IPv6 Technical Conference on 13 April 2011, Mr Tony Haigh, Project Director with Analysys Mason, noted that there has been limited adoption of IPv6 due to the lack of hard deadlines and the existence of acceptable workarounds such as NAT (network address translation) and DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol). There has also been a lack of understanding of the business and financial benefits of adopting IPv6.

"IPv6 is not just a technical issue, it is also a commercial issue," said Mr Haigh. "IPv6 adoption is important if Singapore is to maintain its position in the global IP ecosystem. The impact on economic growth can be quite severe if IPv6 adoption is limited."

The adoption guide aims to offer pragmatic advice on the sequence of events each stakeholder group should go through to achieve IPv6 readiness. The stakeholder categories are: system vendors, Internet service providers, network providers, service providers and end users.

According to Mr Haigh, the activities to enable IPv6 transition follow a broadly similar sequence for all the groups.

The first stage is planning, which involves raising IPv6 awareness and identifying products, applications and services that are required to operate in an IPv6 environment. "IP is used in a lot of places, for example, in embedded operating systems and machine-to-machine applications. Some of these may not be IPv6 compatible, so we have to check all the systems."

The second stage, architecture and design, involves making detailed architecture/design changes to IPv6-enable hardware, systems and applications. This is followed by the implementation of the IPv6 transition plan. The fourth stage - support - is where the necessary processes and procedures are put in place to support IPv6 products, services and applications after their implementation.

For the different stakeholders, there will be variations in the time scale for each stage. System vendors, for example, potentially have the longest lead time depending on product complexity. However, all the stakeholder groups interconnect, and there are many technical and financial interdependencies throughout the ecosystem. "The implementation timing must reflect these relationships," said Mr Haigh. "The ecosystem is quite complex. Everything needs to move together."


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