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IPv6 Council warns: Belgium lagging behind in move to IPv6

Friday 4 February 2011, by Eric Vyncke, Gunter Van de Velde, Olivier Bonaventure

This Thursday the Authority in charge of all IPv4 addresses used worldwide on the Internet has allocated the last available big blocks of addresses to the regional authorities. There are no more IPv4 addresses available on a worldwide basis.

Therefore it is important that all concerned parties in Belgium acts swiftly to deploy and to support IPv6: Internet Service Providers (ISP), Content Providers (newspapers, TV), public sector and normal businesses.

Despite a large penetration of the Internet in Belgium, measurements performed within the the IPv6 Council of Belgium, a non-profit non-Governmental organization www.ipv6council.be, indicate that Belgium is behind many other countries for the IPv6 Internet. There is no widely available IPv6 residential offer in Belgium and among the top-100 website, there is only one IPv6-enabled web site : www.rtbf.be , and the main deployment are in Universities thanks to their public sector ISP: BELNET.

In order to communicate on the Internet, all computers, smart phones, tablets and server must be identified by an IPv4 address. The amount of those addresses is technically limited and cannot be extended. The number 4 at the end of IPv4 is relative to the version used on the Internet.

Since Thursday 3rd of February 2011, the only remaining addresses are now in the hand of regional authorities such as the European one, which is RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens) based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. RIPE will allocate those last IPv4 addresses to Internet Service Providers during 2011. The IPv4 based Internet will not stop working, but it will stop growing and it will degrade in term of performance and available services

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) foresaw the eventuality of this day almost 20 years ago, and IPv6 (IP version 6) was developed as a replacement. The main benefit of IPv6 is that it brings an almost unlimited addressing space. The IPv6-based Internet is designed to grow for generations and services to come.

In our daily lives, failure of the Internet infrastructure or restrictions on its capabilities to add new users or support the worldwide economy are no longer acceptable.

Therefore it is important that all concerned parties in Belgium acts swiftly to deploy and to support IPv6: Internet Service Providers (ISP), Content Providers (newspapers, TV), public sectors to continue to offer services to all citizens, normal businesses wanting to keep existing relationships with their current national or worldwide customers or even grow their business worldwide.

Therefore the IPv6 Forum recommends to all people involved in Information & Communication Technologies (ICT), that now is the time to leverage 2011 and 2012 for planning and rolling out the new version of the Internet Protocol. Enabling IPv6 in all ICT environment is not the end game but is now a critical requirement for continuity in all Internet business and services going forward. Production quality deployments will take time. A well-planned deployment will take 1 or 2 years so it must start now. On the contrary, if the deployment is delayed, then this will significantly raise the overall cost of the deployment of IPv6.

Transition planning and adoption of IPv6 is now critical to the long-term stability and growth of Internet Protocol based ICT, not only in the public Internet but in every facet of our office, home and mobile electronic existence that more and more depend on Internet protocols.

Quote from the v6 Forum Leaders in their own chapter release: “IPv6 is needed to give the generations to come the opportunity to be part of the the Belgian knowledge culture and to remain competitive in the market .” states Gunter Van de Velde, Chairman, IPv6 Council of Belgium, www.ipv6council.be

Attempting to predict this date has been an interesting challenge over the years, given the chaotic nature of global Internet growth. The challenge ahead for the larger community will be to move past denial, mourning, and grief, and get on with the task of IPv6 deployment.” States Tony Hain, Technical Director, North American IPv6 Task Force and IPv6 Forum Fellow.

If you think you can ignore IPv6, think again. As new IPv4 addresses cannot be acquired, the industry will be faced with customers / partners / suppliers who can only be reached via IPv6. Our industry will need to face the “balkanization” of the Internet. It is time to act and to deploy IPv6 now.” states Yanick Pouffary, NAv6TF Technology Director, IPv6 Forum Fellow and IPv6 Forum (Ready & Enabled) Logo Programs Chairperson.

About the IPv6 Forum
The IPv6 Forum is a world-wide consortium of leading vendors, Internet service vendors, National research & Education Networks (NRENs) and international ISPs, with a clear mission to promote IPv6 by improving market and user awareness, creating a quality and secure Next Generation Internet and allowing world-wide equitable access to knowledge and technology. The key focus of the IPv6 Forum today is to provide technical guidance for the deployment of interoperability thru its IPv6 Ready & Enabled Logo Programs :www.ipv6ready.org & http://www.ipv6forum.com/ipv6_enabled/

View online : The NRO announcement

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