When we last tuned in we discussed how the IPv6 certification process is designed to ensure devices properly implement the IPv6 protocol and interoperate with all other certified components. It was also mentioned that, with the level of revenue generated by today’s public network, the owners of these networks are hesitant to fully implement the protocol with fears of instability. The world’s governments are leading the efforts in proving this network stability by designing their next generation networks around the IPv6 protocol.
Cisco’s IPv6 certification efforts fall under the Global Certification Team (GCT) within the Global Government Solutions Group (GGSG). At first glance, this may seem like an odd place for this function to land but, the US government has a long history of adopting technologies that lead to the common acceptance of these products in our everyday lives. Velcro for example wasn’t developed by the space program however NASA’s use brought those hooks and loops into the mainstream. IPv6 is following that same path. To prepare for their next generation network, the US Government at all levels require IPv6 certification in the networking components they purchase. The government’s implementation of this next generation network has IPv6 as an operational, active and required component. With the successful deployment of these large scale networks, private sector network owners can use lessons learned and gain confidence in the deployment of the IPv6 protocol.
Don’t get me wrong the US Government isn’t implementing IPv6 out of the kindness of their political heart just to help the private sector, they have big plans. Applications such as Smart Grid, Health Care and Cloud Computing to name a few are being developed, putting the full use of the IPv6 protocol stack to use. The current US Government timeline or IPv6 implementation calls for all agencies to have public facing services by September 2012 with additional internal requirements by September 2014. This high level roadmap can be found in the September 2010 memo to CIOs from the Executive Office of the President with more detailed requirements as defined by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) IPv6 documentation.
I also don’t want to give the impression that the US Government is the only one in the IPv6 hot tub, other governments around the world have jumped in with both feet¹. An example of this global leadership can be seen in a report from Europe’s Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) dated March 2010. This report provides a general view of several global government initiatives. Cisco also has a white paper titled The Role of Government in IPv6 Adoption that is certainly worth a read. In fact a quick Google search will provide you with enough papers, plans and proposals to put you to sleep many a night.
These worldwide government objectives are building the bedrock for next generation networks that will change the lives of the connected person in ways we haven’t seen in decades. Significant momentum is building and it is a good time to be in the technical networking community. Soon we will see all this IPv6 functionality …… and when done correctly, most people won’t even realize what a significant change took place.
1 Neither Cisco Systems nor the author condones ever jumping into a hot tub with both feet, it just is not a good idea