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4/8/2011
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NTIA Tool Helps IPv6 Transition

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration's IPv6 Readiness Tool is aimed at helping businesses move to the next-generation Web standard.

Obama's Tech Tools
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The agency that advises President Obama on telecommunications and IT has released a new tool to help businesses with the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), which is the next-generation standard for expanding the number of addresses for Internet-connected devices.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Friday released the IPv6 Readiness tool, which addresses the technical needs associated with deploying the new standard and brings them to the attention of corporate management, according to a White House blog post from U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra.

The development of the tool is a response to his challenge to the technology industry at an IPv6 workshop last September to impress upon the private sector how important it is to move to IPv6, he said.

"In recent months, the administration has been working to highlight the importance of the adoption and deployment of IPv6," according to Chopra. "We believe government can work in partnership with industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the technology that underpins the Internet continues to support innovation and economic growth."

The current standard for the rules for how devices communicate over the Web is IPv4, which is running out of available addresses and has prompted the move to IPv6. IPv4 supports 4 billion addresses, while IPv6 supports "340 trillion trillion trillion possible addresses," Chopra said.

The NTIA's tool helps businesses address some key questions they should be asking to prepare for the IPv6 transition. They include considerations such as finding out how the company is dependent on the Internet, particularly its ability to reach all Internet users and connected devices, and discovering which lines of business are dependent on public Internet access and use.

The tool also asks business to consider whether their internal operations rely on Internet technology that use private IPv4 address space, and whether it can continue to use that or must shift to IPv6.

The IPv6 Readiness Tool is available for download online, as is more information about it.

As the feds encourage businesses to work on their own transition plans, the government also is getting ready to move to the new Internet standard.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has called for a federal transition plan to the new standard since 2005, but the Obama administration only just released one last September.

Public and external facing servers and services, such as webmail, domain name server (DNS), and Internet service provider services, must operationally use native IPv6 by Sept. 30, 2012, which is the end of fiscal year 2012. Internal client enterprise networks must do the same by the end of fiscal year 2014.

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