With the reservoir of available IP addresses fast depleting, governments around the world are putting the finishing touches to their plans to migrate their country’s Internet infrastructure to the new Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) protocol, that offers billions of new addresses. The Government of India has set a deadline of March 31, 2012 for all service providers to transition to IPv6. The Government of Karnataka (GoK) has taken a major initiative to help enterprises make the transition, through a public-private project. It today signed a partnership agreement with the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIIT-B) and technology vendor HP to conduct a pilot project that will help organizations in Karnataka through a smooth transition to IPv6.
The current IPv4 protocol is a 32-bit addressing system and has a theoretical limit of four billion IP addresses -- the last of which have just been distributed to the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). Migrating to the 128-bit IPv6 means billions of new IP addresses will become available. The new Internet Protocol is also more secure and offers the promise of speed; it is 10 times faster. This makes it ideal for high-bandwidth applications like multi-casting.
The demand for IP addresses is fast increasing as more consumer devices such as smartphones, tablets and now, Internet-enabled TVs, connect directly to the Internet. Users are also bringing their mobile devices into the enterprise and connecting these to corporate networks.
For enterprises in India, transitioning to IPv6 is essential to keep up with the current Internet growth, as well to develop new Internet applications, new markets and to serve citizens in new ways. But the transition to IPv6 has been slow, because the fundamental Internet infrastructure has not adapted to the new Internet protocol, even though it was introduced in 1999. The migration to IPv6 is also a mammoth task as it involves multiple stakeholders like service providers, system integrators, organizations, and numerous departments and authorities at the central and state level.
However, the IPv6 Task Force, which officially oversees the country's transition from the old IPv4 protocol to the new one, said almost all major ISPs are now providing enterprise IPv6 services.
This three way partnership will set off a pilot project through an innovation lab set up by HP at IIIT-B. The lab is called HP Network University and the objectives of the pilot project are to:
- Identify major the challenges for organizations in adopting IPv6
- Develop solutions for these challenges through education, technology and process improvements
- Provide advice and resource for enterprises and government bodies in Karnataka
- Actively promote the adoption of IPv6 in other Indian states
“Expanding communication networks, limited availability of IPv4 address space, coupled with growing demand for new IP addresses globally, has necessitated the need to shift to IPv6 by March 2012,” said Hon. M N Vidyashankar, Principal Secretary to Government , Department of IT, BT, S&T and eGovernance, Govt of Karnataka. “Partnerships such as this help spread awareness regarding this new mandate to all federal and state government ministries and public and private sector companies.”
Bishwanath Bhattacharya, VP, Technology Services, HP India and Prof. S. Sadagopan, Founder, Director, IIIT-Bangalore inaugurate the HP Unified Communications lab at IIIT-B
As a part of the announcement, HP Network University also unveiled the Unified Communication & Collaboration (UC&C) Innovation Centre at IIIT-B. The HP Network University aims at providing advanced knowledge, including IPv6, to professionals working in the area of technology. The university will showcase, under a single roof, a complete Unified Communication (UC) platform representing technologies from HP and its major UC technology partners.