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Rough switch to IPv6

GAO: Agencies are behind in developing policies, making plans and maintaining and monitoring networks
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

How goes the federal government's march towards IPv6? Rather slow. Ten of 24 major agencies audited by GAO have not developed policies and enforcement mechanisms to ensure the transition 11 agencies have not developed and implemented a test plan for IPv6 compatibility and/or interoperability, and 14 agencies have not begun IPv6-related maintenance and monitoring of their networks. The report was released today, according to Washington Technology.

“Until agencies complete key planning activities, their transition efforts risk not being successful,” auditors said in the report. “Transitioning to IPv6 presents several challenges. All of these challenges could impede progress in transitioning to IPv6 if agencies do not address them as they proceed with transition.”
Challenges include:
  • Incorporating IPv6 into business cases. With few applications available for the new protocol, it is hard for program managers and business executives to envision how IPv6 could help them meet their mission more effectively.
  • Interfacing with other agencies, the public, vendors and others during the transition period. GAO said a greater level of coordination and testing is needed to minimize connection delays and network insecurity. “In addition, benefits that cannot be realized until all parties are communicating using IPv6 can be difficult to attain, because external partners can be in various stages of transitioning to IPv6,” auditors said.
  • Maintaining dual IPv4 and IPv6 environments means greater complexity and higher costs.
  • The policy of assigning an IP address to more than one provider, done to ensure redundancy, could cause routing problems in a dual v4/v6 environment.
  • IPv6 standards are less mature, and some are still evolving, auditors said.
  • Editorial standards