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Home | IPv6 | ITU-T, ITU on IPv6
  Ms. Xiaoya Yang
  Ms. Xiaoya Yang

ITU on IPv6

The ITU-T’s Xiaoya YANG discusses the role of the organisation in supporting the development of IPv6

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Ms. Xiaoya Yang is working with Study Group 2 on 'Operational aspects of service provision and telecommunications management' and Study Group 3 on 'Tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues' in the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-TSB). She was the counselor of Study Group 17 on 'Telecommunication security' from 2007 to 2008 and the workshop project coordinator from 2004 to 2006. Before she joined ITU in 2004, she worked in the Ministry of Information Industry of China since 1998. There she was the division director responsible for administration of Internet management and information security. She worked in China Telecom 1997-1998 as a network engineer and service manager in their Internet service department. She has a M.S. in Engineering from Tsinghua University and a MBA from Hongkong Polytechnic University.

Q: Why do you believe that there isn’t wider recognition of the need for better awareness of the availability of IPv4 addresses and the deployment of IPv6?
A: The slow deployment of IPv6 itself is clear evidence that there isn’t enough awareness of the urgency. The transition to IPv6 is expected to be completed before the IPv4 free pool exhaustion. With the current prediction that IPv4 ‘free-pool’ will only last 18-24 more months, evidently we are far behind the plan.

Q: What has been the role of the ITU in the development of IPv6 in the past?
A: ITU has been mandated by its members - the world’s information and communications technology companies, together with the world’s governments – to perform its role in technical issues, and to continue to contribute its expertise and to liaise and cooperate with appropriate entities on issues related to the management of Internet domain names and addresses and other Internet resources within the mandate of ITU, such as IPv6, ENUM and IDNs. Work on IPv6 is ongoing in all three sectors of ITU (ITU-T, ITU-D and ITU-R.) For example, ITU-T’s Next Generation Networks Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) is looking at the impact of IPv6 on NGN as one of its tasks. Importantly ITU has worked with other standards developing organizations and particularly with IETF, IPv6 forums, and the RIRs on the promotion of IPv6. Additionally, ITU has worked with the European Union (EU) Task Force responsible for creating roadmaps for the deployment of IPv6 in all business sectors within the EU.

Q: Could you outline the ITU’s involvement today in IPv6 with Study Group 2 and 3?
A: IPv6 has been a living study item in ITU-T SG 2 and 3 over the past years. ITU-T SG 2 and 3 received contributions from its members on IPv6 and held discussions in their meetings and via mailing lists, see Workshop Documents for discussion (http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/ipv6/200809/documents.html)

Q: What are the costs of migration to IPv6, in particular for developing countries?
A: This was one of the questions discussed in the recent ITU IPv6 workshop (http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/ipv6/200809/index.html.) The workshop identified capacity building, capital investment on new equipment (routers, etc.) and operation cost (e.g. configuration and maintenance of dual-stacks, tunneling, etc.) among other costs of migration to IPv6 as particularly relevant for developing countries.

Q: What, are the key issues, technical or otherwise in the migration from IPv4 to IPv6?
A: The difficulty in the migration to IPv6, is fundamentally rooted in the technical nature of IPv6 in that it is not ‘backward compatible’ with IPv4. With the IPv4 Internet, its enormous size and its decentralized architecture/ownership means that any migration could  not possibly be completed in one day but will be a long gradual process. To enable two incompatible protocols to communicate with each other during the transition period, extra capital costs have to be invested beyond that necessary to run a single protocol system. This doesn’t bring much new revenue, at least at this stage, to ISPs.

Geoff Huston from APNIC has concluded in his article ‘The changing foundation of the Internet: confronting IPv4 address exhaustion’: “It appears that the current situation is not the outcome of a lack of information about IPv6, nor a lack of information about the forthcoming exhaustion of the IPv4 unallocated address pool. Nor is it the outcome of concerns over technical shortfalls or uncertainties in IPv6, because there is no evidence of any such technical shortcomings in IPv6 that prevent its deployment in any meaningful fashion. A more likely explanation for the current situation is an inability of a highly competitive deregulated industry to be in a position to factor longer-term requirements into short-term business logistics.’

That explains why, in addition to promotion efforts from the industry and the Internet community, the deployment of IPv6 stands high in the agenda of Internet-related public policy discussions in many places including the IGF, ITU, OECD, etc.

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