Internet exchange points should be encouraged for IPv6

Internet pioneer and TCP/IP co-developer Vint Cerf has made specific proposals to support the introduction of IPv6 at the second Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro. “Governments could consider subsidising the cost of exchange points which encourage connectivity via IPv6 addresses.” This would allow full connectivity within the IPv6 space to be established more quickly, in parallel to the existing IPv4 address space. According to experts, such upgraded internet exchange points (the most well-known of which in Germany is DE-CIX) could also be used to improve the link between the two worlds, by having the translation between the two address spaces take place here.

The ever decreasing number of IPv4 addresses and the introduction of IPv6, the successor to IPv4, has been addressed by numerous government representatives in the current session of the IGF. Specific proposals for promoting the migration to IPv6 are, however, lacking. With an eye on the latest estimates that IPv4 addresses will be used up by 2010 to 2012, many experts are already warning of possible unfair competition complaints against the regional internet registries (RIRs), responsible for assigning addresses. The latter are currently working on policies for assigning the last remaining IPv4 address blocks over the coming years, a kind of countdown policy.

Cerf’s appeal addresses a problem which he has referred to on a number of occasions over the last few months – it is not enough to simply use the IPv6 address space. Without translation to IPv4, the user remains on an IPv6 island and may not even be able to reach other IPv6 islands or the IPv4 ocean. Cerf has recently said that tunnels are conceivable, but he is hoping that the introduction of the new addresses will be made easier if appropriate internet exchange points for IPv6 are available.

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isoc member since 1995

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