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August 20, 2010

IPv6: India Doesn't Plan to Wait Until Crunch Time

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

As more and more websites continue to emerge on the scene everyday, the current IPv4 environment is quickly running out of IP addresses. In fact, it is estimated that this platform will deplete all available addresses by the middle of 2011, making the need for IPv6 immediate. 

According to a recent PC Mag report, India doesn’t plan to wait for panic mode. The country has already started to roll out its plans for making the switch from IPv4 to IPv6. As part of its plan, the government is demanding all agencies migrate to the new version by March of 2012.

As reported by PC World India, a future rollout of new 3G and broadband wireless access services is putting pressure on the country to switch over to IPv6 as soon as possible. India has already completed the auction of licenses for both technologies and will begin to roll out 3G officially in September. 

Interestingly, the United States doesn’t appear to be quite as panicked about the move to IPv6, failing to place a focused priority on the move. This could be considered alarming given that the nation is nearing the end of available IPv4 block of addresses.

John Curran (News - Alert), a representative with the American Registry for Internet Numbers, notes the U.S. has already used roughly 94 percent of its available addresses. The remaining six percent is expected to be exhausted within the next year.

One powerhouse within the U.S., Comcast (News - Alert) – which has more than 16 million individual U.S. Internet subscribers – started its first residential testing of its own IPv6-backed service at the end of June. Instead of native IPv6 addressing, the company uses 6RD technology to tunnel an IPv6 address over a IPv4 network – not a bad idea given the problems with hardware interoperability reported in IPv6 environments.

The company will soon move to a second phase of the four-part test. In this stage, they will dual-stack, or simultaneously distribute both IPv6 and IPv4 addresses to address the deployment of IPv6 and the operability of IPv4.

Even with advances such as these, Curran warns the U.S. is still far behind. Some are even comparing the situation to that of the Y2K bug – an abundance of hype over an issue that will be fixed at the last minute when there is no other choice. Will there be too many issues to overcome to drive true interoperability on IPv6 when the time comes? We may just have to wait and see.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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