The IPv6 Forum on Tuesday presented a special award to four U.S. government officials for their pioneering work in promoting IPv6, an emerging upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol.
Recipients of the award were: Peter Tseronis, chairperson of the Federal IPv6 Task Force and CTO for the U.S. Department of Energy; Carol Bales, senior policy analyst with the Office of Management and Budget; Jane Coffin, formerly an Internet policy wonk at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration who recently joined the Internet Society; and Ron Broersma, chief engineer for the Defense Research and Engineering Network.
The IPv6 Forum gave the award in recognition of the U.S. government's efforts to promote adoption of IPv6 inside agencies during the last 11 years.
"There have been many major events with the U.S. federal government, where they were putting out memos, putting out requirements for their own agencies as well as for vendors. They encouraged the whole ecosystem to move along with them," said Yanick Pouffary, an HP Distinguished Technologist and a founding member of the IPv6 Forum.
Pouffary said many other countries are now copying the U.S. government's approach to IPv6 deployment. "The U.S. is a model worth being replicated,'' she said.
The IPv6 Forum presented the four U.S. government officials with the IPv6 Forum Internet Pioneer Award, which they haven't distributed in five years because "there has not been any significant progress in IPv6,'' Pouffary said. "What the U.S. government has done is significant.''
The IPv6 Forum recognized several actions taken by the U.S. government to promote IPv6 adoption:
--The Defense Department issued a memo in 2003 mandating IPv6 support for all military networks.
--OMB issued a similar memo in 2005 regarding IPv6 transition for civilian agencies.
--The Federal Acquisition Regulations were changed in 2006 to require IPv6 support in all IT purchases.
--The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed an IPv6 product profile and compliance testing program.
---The Federal CIO Council wrote an IPv6 Planning Guide/Roadmap for federal agencies; Version 2 was released in 2012.
'We're honoring four IPv6 pioneers in the U.S. government who have been a true engine of change,'' Pouffary said, adding that the IPv6 Forum believes that "partnerships between civilian government and industry is fundamental when facing changes like IPv6.''
IPv6 is the biggest upgrade in the 40-year history of the Internet. Carriers, enterprises and government agencies are deploying IPv6 because the Internet is running out of IP addresses using the current standard, known as IPv4.
IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet. IPv6, on the other hand, uses 128-bit addresses and supports a virtually unlimited number of devices -- 2 to the 128th power.