Centre for Internet & Society

The government today said by December all its websites would switch over to IPv6 — the next generation Web standard that enables the creation of trillions of new Internet addresses and provides higher levels of security.

Click to read the original published by the Telegraph on June 7, 2012. Nishant Shah is quoted.

Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) went live across the globe today, with leading online giants, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft (Bing), introducing the new standard on their products and services.

Experts said Internet users would not feel any impact because of the shift.

At present, websites run on IPv4, a 27 year-old standard that allows just over four billion unique IP addresses, which are the sequence of numbers used to identify a device.

Each Internet-enabled device — computer, tablet or smartphone — needs its own IP address to connect to the Internet. However, because of the shortage of addresses, many devices have to share them, limiting the ability of the security agencies to track the exact device involved in a security breach.

Networking giant Cisco has predicted that 18.9 billion devices will be online by 2016.

Switching to IPv6 will ensure a unique IP address for each device.

“IPv6 is designed to handle security issues better... All government websites will be IPv6-compatible by December. For the country as a whole, the road map for transitioning to IPv6 is by 2020,” telecom secretary R. Chandrashekhar said.

Internet traffic that moves over to the new protocol is encrypted. Systems in IPv6 ensure that the traffic gets to the correct destination without being intercepted, analysts said.

To ensure a smooth transition and avert an abrupt disruption, both systems (IPv4 and IPv6) will work simultaneously for the next few years.

“The future of our connected networks is IPv6. Not only is it more efficient and faster than IPv4, which we are currently working with, it is also more reliable and secure,” said Nishant Shah, director (research) at the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society.

India has 35 million IPv4 addresses against a data user base of about 360 million.

In addition, with the government targeting 160 million and 600 million broadband customers by the year 2017 and 2020, respectively, the need to move to IPv6 becomes more crucial. Moreover, there is a strong security requirement to provide unique IP address to each individual user.

The IT department has taken various steps, including organising workshops, to encourage state governments to hold pilot projects.

Twenty-seven government websites have been brought under IPv6 platform. 

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