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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Slow pace of deploying IPv6 worries ICANN

Global Internet coordinating agency, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has expressed worries over the slow pace of deploying Internet Protocol version Six (IPv6) worldwide.

This development came as ICANN said there is widespread agreement within the technical community that the Internet’s current system based on IP version 4 (IPv4) is unable to cope with the network’s expansion.

IPv6 stands for Internet Protocol version 6 and is the technological solution that allows for a vast expansion in the number of Internet addresses.

ICANN in its recent released factsheet on IPv6 expressed worries over the slow adoption.

“IPv6 adoption has been slow. Since it is not directly compatible with the current IPv4 system, there is inertia to the move,” ICANN noted, stressing that this delay has become a matter of increasing concern to the body.

Also, ICANN said that it is important that companies, governments and regulatory authorities understand the issues surrounding IPv6 and why its use should be encouraged.

ICANN further stated that every device connected to the Internet needs an address, but those addresses are rapidly being depleted, hence its unlikely the current system put in place over 30 years ago would stand the test of time in the next 10 years.

“As unlikely as that may seem, the system put in place in 1977 assumed that four billion separate addresses on the network would be more than sufficient,” ICANN said, pointing out that the Internet’s enormous success and growth has seen those addresses rapidly taken up.

The global agency projected that in the next five years if not sooner than expected, the existing IPv4 could run out completely.

“Within the next five years, and possibly sooner, the ‘free pool’ of addresses, those that have not yet been used or assigned will run out,” ICANN noted.

Therefore, ICANN emphasised that unless a method of providing more addresses is introduced, the Internet’s growth would be hampered in the coming decades.

Affirming the position of ICANN, the general manager, Public Participation at ICANN, Mr. Kieren McCarthy, said that the release of factsheet covering Internet Protocol 6 was proposed to provide explanation on the protocol upgrade for a non-technical audience in the hope of enlarging public understanding surrounding this and related issues.

“The factsheet briefly reviews the technology behind IPv6, explains why it is needed, why uptake has been slow, and outlines why a move to the protocol should be considered soon by many organisations and governments,” he said.

He also said that the factsheet continues what has been a popular series of short, clearly written, guides covering topical technical issues in which ICANN is involved.

ICANN in executive summary stated that there is widespread agreement within the technical community that the Internet’s current system is unable to cope with the network’s expansion.

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