July 2005 Newsletter

Congratulations on being part of the IPv6 Community. We are on a roll, and, just by receiving 6Sense you personally make a significant difference. The older I get, the more I realize that in a democracy change happens based on a combination (perhaps even a multiplication) of the power of a new idea times the number of people who get behind the idea times the ability to get that idea in front of elected officials. In this issue of 6Sense, the international newsletter of the IPv6 Community, we include the testimony from the witnesses at the IPv6 hearing recently held by the Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA). I was a witness and, I am proud to say, helped to create the context for the hearings by posing the question, "To Lead, Follow, or Lose the Great Game: Why the US must chose an IPv6 leader" in my April 6Sense article. The title of the IPv6 hearings was, "To Lead or Follow: the Next Generation Internet and the Transition to IPv6." This issue also has articles from Bill Kine of Spirent and John Jason Brzozowski of Lucent. To address Bill Kine's article, I think that Chairman Tom Davis and his hearings will make the difference between the metric system failing and IPv6 succeeding in the US. There was no Government Reform Committee hearing entitled, "To lead or follow: The Next Generation of Measurement Standards and the Transition to the Metric System," nor was there a MetricSense e-newsletter going out to 10,000 people, nor any one making an argument for a Federal Metric Transition Office with a full-time staff. The IPv6 transition will succeed where the metric transition failed because it has Congressional support and better public outreach than the metric transition ever had in the U.S. Like the ad for the steak sauce, with respect to the role of government leadership and the IPv6 transition, "Yeah. It's that important."

Top Ten Impressions and Inspirations from the First U.S. Federal IPv6 Hearing

Here are some of the top points from the Congressional Hearing on IPv6 that I think should be considered by the IPv6 Community: 1. There are over 500,000 elected officials in the U.S., all of whom are supposed to take an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and work toward "a more perfect union" and more. Only one elected official, Congressman Tom Davis, has actually acted to maintain U.S. leadership in the Internet, based on supporting a transition to IPv6. If IPv6 happens in the U.S. and we maintain Internet leadership, Congressman Tom Davis deserves a great deal of credit. What are the rest of the elected officials waiting for? An invitation? OK… You are hereby all urgently invited to help. 2. 6Sense readers were very prominent at the hearing. Those of you who came helped meet one of the goals that every Chairman has for a hearing: to fill the room with interested participants. Active participation in learning the issues and taking personal responsibility is the essence of democracy, even more than voting. Every seat at the hearing was taken, and there was standing room only. Staff commented that they were surprised that virtually everyone stayed through to the very end of the hearing. Woody Allen said that 80% of success is showing up. You showed up. You were successful. Thanks! 3. One of the most important witnesses was Karen Evans, director of e-Government initiatives at the Office of Management and Budget, who has been considering and investigating IPv6 for over a year, and who introduced what the press has characterized as a "requirement for the federal government to move to IPv6 by June, 2008."...

Which Will Arrive First: IPv6 or the Metric System?

Let’s reminisce. Harken back to the 1970s and 1980s. At that time, a new and improved numeric system was introduced to the United States. This system promised to enhance and simplify our current structure and eventually supersede the existing outmoded practices. Furthermore, this new system would ensure our compatibility with the rest of the world, and thereby improve our overall competitive position in the global economy. The new system was mandated by Congress, and was seen as an inevitable evolutionary step. This, of course, was the introduction of the infamous metric system. All of the decades-old arguments in favor of the metric system are still equally valid today, and yet Americans continue to cling to our outdated inches, miles, pounds and quarts. Now it is the year 2005. A lot has changed over the past quarter of a century; most significantly, the advent of the Information Age and the Internet. As the Internet grows into its next generation, it too is facing a requirement to update its current numbering scheme. A new system is required that will simplify configurations, ensure our compatibility with the rest of the world, and enhance the current facilities (security, performance, competitiveness, etc.). This upgrade from IPv4 to IPv6, like the metric system, has also been ordered by the Federal Government. This too, despite all of the inevitable benefits, is meeting with passive opposition from the current users of the Internet.

Managing IPv6 Deployment and Co-existence

The complexities associated with managing the deployment of next generation service offerings require innovative approaches for end-to-end device configuration, iron-clad access security, flexible policy management and an integrated approach to service level quality assurance. Additionally, fast, secure and reliable management of IP addresses, services and end-users, are critical. The imminent exhaustion of IP (IPv4) address, advanced requirements for next generation services, and security concerns are prompting a move to the next generation of the Internet Protocol, IPv6. In addition to the greatly expanded address space, technical benefits of IPv6 include performance improvements, better security and enhanced support for mobility. The adoption of IPv6 raises significant network planning, operations, and management concerns. Numerous technical differences between IPv4 and IPv6 mean that even seasoned IP professionals will face significant network allocation and usability concerns when they introduce IPv6 into their infrastructures. The impact of poorly managed IPv6 address space, which includes allocation errors and poor capacity planning, can potentially have severe consequences. Most experts agree that IPv4 and IPv6 will certainly coexist for many years or decades to come, resulting in the need to maintain dual inventories, one for IPv4 and one for IPv6. Ultimately, there is a paramount need for a tool that will reduce the risks and complexities of the technology.