IETF 11 June 2012

IPv6 Is Now REQUIRED In All IP-Capable Nodes – And Standards

By Dan YorkDirector, Internet Technology

IETF LogoLooking for another great reason to advocate IPv6 support within your organization or company?  Consider this – the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has now stated clearly that IPv6 is REQUIRED in all “IP-capable” devices and systems.

On a practical level, the IETF cannot, of course, flip a magical switch that just makes everything IPv6 (if only!!)… but what this means is that you can pretty much expect that all new standards coming out of the IETF will require IPv6 – and it’s not too hard to think that there will be some new technologies/services that may come out (and be standardized) that are IPv6-only. So if you want to keep your company/organization on the leading edge of technology, this is another reason to look at how you can can transition your company’s products and services to work with IPv6.

As stated in RFC 6540 published in April 2012:

 Given the global lack of available IPv4 space, and limitations in
   IPv4 extension and transition technologies, this document advises
   that IPv6 support is no longer considered optional.  It also cautions
   that there are places in existing IETF documents where the term “IP”
   is used in a way that could be misunderstood by implementers as the
   term “IP” becomes a generic that can mean IPv4 + IPv6, IPv6-only, or
   IPv4-only, depending on context and application.

The full RFC can be found at:

The key “best practices” recommended in the document include:

  • New IP implementations must support IPv6.
  • Updates to current IP implementations should support IPv6.
  • IPv6 support must be equivalent or better in quality and functionality when compared to IPv4 support in a new or updated IP implementation.
  • New and updated IP networking implementations should support IPv4 and IPv6 coexistence (dual-stack), but must not require IPv4 for proper and complete function.
  • Implementers are encouraged to update existing hardware and software to enable IPv6 wherever technically feasible.

As we saw with World IPv6 Launch last week, IPv6 is now becoming “the new normal” for the Internet. If you aren’t looking at how you can move your organization to IPv6, you will be left behind.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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