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 Friday, October 03, 2008

A key conclusion of a recent ITU workshop on IPv6 is that capacity building will be fundamental to progress IPv6 deployment. A report from the workshop is available here.

The workshop, held in Geneva on 4-5 September 2008, brought together key policy makers, standards makers and other industry figures to progress international cooperation on the implementation of IPv6.

“We have noted voices and opinions from the developing world and from the developed world, from academia and research institutes, as well as from industry members,” said Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), in a speech to welcome workshop participants. “Often these voices focus on the issue of the management of Internet resources, including IPv6 addresses, and that it may be appropriate to consider systems that avoid some of the problems that have arisen with IPv4 allocations.”

Johnson invited the “IPv6 global community” to engage with ITU on this important topic. “It will be essential in the coming months to address some of the roadblocks that have so far stalled IPv6 implementation,” he said, adding that “ITU has proven and relevant competence as the architect and custodian of the world’s international telephone numbering system, a system which is characterized by stability”. ITU could play an active role in areas such as technical and standardization issues, which will enable the most efficient and effective usage of IPv6. It would also take part in capacity building and technical assistance to help countries in the deployment process and parallel running of IPv4 and IPv6.

Presenters highlighted Asia as home to several pioneering deployments of IPv6. Japan has long been a leader in research on the technology. China is home to the world’s biggest IPv6 infrastructure project, part of the China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) programme covering more than 40 cities nationwide.

The workshop recognized the role of governments in efforts to foster the deployment and usage of IPv6. It was also noted that the transition to IPv6 might be market driven, and that ISPs keen to ensure business continuity will benefit from the migration.

Participants agreed that there is a need to share knowledge, because migration scenarios are not yet completely clear. In this regard, it could be helpful to publicize comparisons between the architecture of IPv4 and IPv6, in order to demonstrate to decision makers the value of a more agile network.

The meeting recommended creating a project within ITU to assist developing countries based on regional needs as identified by the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). This project should include a training component, and should be carried out jointly by the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) and the BDT, taking into consideration the involvement of those partners willing to join and to contribute their expertise.

“The stability of the Internet is paramount. I am sure that the problems experienced so far are surmountable, and I know that ITU has the knowledge, strength and will to assist,” said Johnson.