While user privacy on Facebook and Twitter downtimes are concerns much talked about, the Internet is facing a technical challenge that of depleting IPv4 addresses. Using the Internet protocol IPv4, addresses are issued to computers to communicate with each other and apparently, by 2012 the Internet service providers will be out of address space. (I seriously doubt this was what Roland Emmerich had in mind when he made 2012.)
Engineers have been working on IPv6 as an alternative to overcome this short fall. IPv6 has inherent benefits such as improved security over IPv4 that will definitely help enterprises protect their networks. Most countries such as US, Japan and members of the European Union are working on the shift and the Department of Telecommunication in India has made their plans official too. There are about 18.4 million registered IPv4 addresses in India and an IPv6 task force has been set up to ensure that the Internet service providers become IPv6 compliant by December 2011. It is estimated that by March 2012 there will be no IPv4 addresses available.
Communications Minister A. Raja and Minister of State for Communications Sachin Pilot have been quoted regarding their plans. Talking about the roadmap, A. Raja said, "This roadmap and the formation of the IPv6 task force together will enable citizens to start using IPv6 services by March 2012, for this all telecom and internet service providers are required to become IPv6 compliant by December-2011."
Given India’s vast population, moving to IPv6 is crucial for efficient country-wide broadband penetration. The transition from a 25 year old technology isn’t going to be easy for the enterprises and hence the task force will be pivotal for the success of India’s migration from IPv4 to IPv6. As an end user there isn’t much that one would be required to do once the backend infrastructure is in place. I hope this will be swift unlike A. Raja’s plans on Mobile Number Portability.