The need for IPv6 has been recognized since the early ‘90’s, but the transition has proved to be much easier said than done. The United States Government (USG) aimed to make all of their external services—websites, email, DNS, etc.—accessible over IPv6 by September 2012. The Federal IPv6 Working Group has aided many agencies in their efforts to plan the transition. This required analysis of the new servers and the functions necessary to turn them on, as well as discussion about whether the current load balancer supported IPv6, and whether firewalls could still protect the new network after a simple firmware upgrade.
The USGv6 Test Program was designed to help agencies make informed decisions about IT equipment purchases, so that they might procure proper networking equipment. Research for a potential purchase should include review of the product’s SDOC (Self Declaration of Conformity), which documents the IPv6 features of the product and should be included by the supplier. The test results for a network device documented in the SDOC must be produced by done by an ISO 17025 accredited third-party lab. The USGv6 Test Program has both Interoperability and Conformance to the IPv6 standards to give a comprehensive set of test. These tests allow vendors to address issues before a product is purchased and thus release products with a higher level of confidence. Agencies seek to purchase such equipment so that their time can be spent deploying their solution, rather than debugging their new equipment.
As agencies deploy IPv6, the USGv6 program has created common criteria for both buyers and suppliers when discussing IPv6 features. For example, if an agency deploying IPv6 is planning on using DHCPv6 to manage their network, they can simply select DHCPv6 as a requirement. This helps suppliers fit the needs of the agencies purchasing their products.
The USG met a number of their September 2012 goals, but there is still much work to be done in completing these goals and transitioning completely to IPv6. Utilizing the USGv6 Test Program will make the transition much easier for agencies aiming to meet all of the goals in front of them.
To find products tested for the USGv6 Test Program, visit the UNH-IOL Device List.
Timothy Winters, Senior IP Manager, IP Technologies