Home / Blogs

IPv6: Whose Responsibility Is It?

This text was originally meant to be read by the Swedish authorities and municipalities, but the problem is most probably similar all over the world.

Along with others, I have repeatedly written and spoken about the need for municipalities and agencies to start with the roll-out of IPv6. Most of what I have written has been focused on IT managers. It might seem natural that it is the IT manager’s decision to get the IPv6-project started. But what if perhaps it isn’t…?

A consultant in my company, Interlan, has a wonderful attitude about IPv6.?If he talks to customers that haven’t yet implemented IPv6, he sometimes comments:
“Why don’t you use the whole Internet?”

If he on the other hand is talking to ISPs, he often comments:
“Why don’t you deliver the whole Internet?”

If we look at Sweden for example, there are 290 municipalities in Sweden. With a couple of local clusters that manage more than one municipality we can assume that we have about 250 IT-departments. With my experience we can also then assume that we have 250 different ways of running the IT needs of a municipality. It is with that in mind that I have started to re-think the way decisions are made. Is it solely the IT-manager’s decision and responsibility to say:
“Now we implement IPv6!”

What is included in the duties for the person that is responsible for Internet communications in a municipality? Maybe it says “ensure that the Internet always works”.?What’s really in the task? Is it only to maintain and ensure, or is it to maintain, ensure and develop??Is Internet then only the old reliable IPv4 or is it the “whole internet” with IPv6 as well??Or is it perhaps the IT-strategist or IT-architect who should see the needs for the municipality’s Internet communications? And is it he or she who is supposed to say to the IT manager, who in turn tells the “Internet Man” to get started with IPv6? Or is it maybe the technician who will tell the strategist, who in turn needs to appoint a study that will show that this really is necessary and this will then be introduced to the manager who will run this by the team of executives and the economy department? Or ...?

There are also municipalities where the IT-department only implements upon the orders place by municipal management or administration. How should such a municipality get the IPv6 implementation going? Have you heard of any head of social welfare administration or municipal director saying:

-“Look here now, I think IPv6 solves the problem and we should start to migrate ASAP!”?

Perhaps the municipalities are waiting for someone “even higher above” to tell them how to do and when to start. Who (or what) that someone from above might be can be widely speculated on. A technician at a municipality I talked to, was waiting for directives from the SKL for an introduction! (SKL is the organization in Sweden that in some aspect co-ordinate the activities in the municipalities.) Yet another I talked to said that the Kammarkollegiet, who in Sweden is in charge of many of the larger IT contracts for the public sector, does not provide for IPv6 in their procurements, so why should we? To wait for directives from above, in my opinion is really to bury our heads in the sand!

On www.skl.se the magic word “IPv6” is mentioned once. If you look for the magic word on the website for “Kammarkollegiet”, it’s not mentioned at all.

In other words, it isn’t likely to expect any miraculous help from above in this matter. Not from any of these two key players anyway.

Why I write this is that, as it tends to be pointed out in my presentations about IPv6:
-The most difficult part of adopting IPv6 is to make the decision to do so!

When the decision is made, the actual work isn’t that complicated and is most often not at all as expensive as expected. All major operating systems and services for the Internet today support IPv6, and have done so for quite some time.

IANA’s pool of IPv4-addresses is expected to end in April 2011, this is within less than eight months. And as the Internet-guru Patrik Fältström said on the Swedish Internet Days in 2008,

“There is no Plan B!”

By Torbjörn Eklöv, Senior Network Architect, DNSSEC/IPv6

Filed Under


Plan B Peter Thimmesch  –  Sep 14, 2010 6:30 AM


What if there is an excellent Plan B? Just need to change your point of view. Does end-to-end transparency really need to be a goal?

Also how do you feel about legacy allocations being transfered for value?

In discussions with major US-based ISPs who hold immense IPv4 number resources, none, yes none, see a business case to transition. Do you know of one?


Major US-based ISPs with plans for IPv6: Lee Howard  –  Sep 14, 2010 11:42 AM

Major US-based ISPs with plans for IPv6: Comcast Verizon AT&T; Qwest Sprint Essentially all of the other large ISPs in North America are preparing. Maybe end-to-end transparency isn't paramount, but surely reachability is? There are apps that break with address family translation or multi-layer NAT: gaming, some file transfers. What happens when friends can't play their favorite console game online because one has native IPv4 and the other has IPv6+NAT44? The global IPv4 burn rate is about 12 /8 per year. How long will transfers extend IPv4?

Plan B Torbjörn Eklöv  –  Sep 14, 2010 7:14 AM

I’ve poked around for years and tried to find a good plan B, but So far I have not found anything nearby. Sure, there are Carrier Grade NAT and NAT64 as both a temporary and emergency solution before a global transition to IPv6 is done. ( And that will take many years )

None of the above solutions is a solution that gives us a scalable, secure and network-neutral Internet for a long time and my view is that IPv6 is what gives us that.

End to End is a plus with IPv6, we do not have end to end today and it works quite well but with IPv6, we can achieve it.

Comcast in US is running tests on IPv6 since months ago and in Sweden most of the major ISP’s doing tests and some deliver some services.


To be commended Peter Thimmesch  –  Sep 14, 2010 7:25 AM

Torbjorn, I am thrilled to hear that you have researched for alternatives. The issue is that IPv6 is an alternative network not an extension of the current network. Many service providers have invested immense sums in the current network. They have significant pricing pressures. If there were a realistic business case they would migrate in a heartbeat. If you will note, v6 has been out for over a decade. The market has spoken. You point about Comcast is valid and actually proves my point. Of the largest ISPs in the US, they have the smallest v4 inventory. Peter

Yes IPv6 has been out for years Torbjörn Eklöv  –  Sep 14, 2010 8:12 AM

Yes IPv6 has been out for years without success but IPv4 has a best before date that will change the total market. It does not matter if some ISP'er in the U.S. think they have enough space and find it expensive to convert if the rest of the world chooses a different path. I would appreciate an explanation from you how they manage the transition when IPv4 runs out without investing anything and in same time reach the rest of the world.

Would you like to have a planB? Hugo Prooij  –  Nov 2, 2010 2:59 PM

Hello Torbjorn,

Our CEO has a intresting view on the topic around IPv4 and IPv6. Its a 5 min video you can watch http://www.a10networks.com/products/axseries-ipv.php

Kind regards,

Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet



Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

New TLDs

Sponsored byRadix


Sponsored byDNIB.com

IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global

Brand Protection

Sponsored byCSC


Sponsored byVerisign

Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API