Government agencies out of step with the implementation of IPv6

15/03/2013

Many government agencies have implemented IPv6. However, a great deal of work remains before the government achieves its objective of having all government agencies implement IPv6. These are the results of an investigation by the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS).

PTS has been commissioned by the government to monitor and encourage government agencies to implement IPv6, the new internet protocol that is required for services to work once the old IPv4 addresses run out. As part of this work, PTS has reviewed Swedish government agencies' progress in carrying out these changes.

The investigation shows that almost three out of ten government agencies have currently implemented IPv6 for some of their external communication. Additionally, four out of ten government agencies who have not implemented the IPv6 protocol plan to do so during 2013.

"We are pleased that so many government agencies are choosing to implement IPv6 and thereby future proof their computer communication. IPv6 is important for securing a reliable line of communication between citizens and government agencies.  This affects Swedes living abroad, for example, who need to make contact with government agencies in Sweden. IPv6 also ensures that Swedish government agencies will always be able to communicate with other actors in other countries." says Göran Marby, Director-General of PTS.

A great deal of work remains

PTS's investigation has also revealed that while many government agencies are in the process of implementing IPv6, six per cent of the agencies state that they have decided not to implement IPv6. At the same time, almost three out of ten government agencies have not discussed or made decisions regarding the implementation of IPv6.

Of the agencies that have decided against IPv6 implementation, almost six out of ten state that they have electronic services aimed at the general public.

"The government has set itself the objective that all government agencies should implement IPv6 in 2013. I hope that the agencies that do not yet have IPv6 implementation on their agenda begin discussing and planning around this.

IPv6 is required to give persons who do not have an IPv4 address access to the websites and electronic services of government agencies. There is a risk that the agencies' electronic services won't be available to everyone unless IPv6 is implemented." says Göran Marby

Read the report (only availbly in Swedish)

Government agencies should have implemented IPv6 by 2013

The government's Digital agenda states that all government agencies should have implemented IPv6 by 2013. One reason given is that Sweden should strive for an accessible, open and robust internet, both within Sweden and on a global scale. The implementation of IPv6 is an important part of achieving this objective.

Four tips for government agencies who have not yet implemented IPv6

  • If you have not yet started the implementation, take stock of your IT environment and determine what changes are needed. It is better to start early and implement IPv6 gradually than to wait until the last minute.
  • When purchasing new equipment, choose hardware (routers, firewalls, switches etc.) that can handle IPv6.
  • Make the same demands concerning performance and functionality of the new IPv6 equipment as you would of the corresponding IPv4 equipment.
  • If you have procured the operation of the agency's IT services from an external supplier, review your contract. The contract may include IPv6 even if it is not explicitly stated.

PTS has been commissioned by the government to produce a guide for organisations looking to implement IPv6. The guide can be found at the PET website.

Further information
Erika Hersaeus, project leader, telephone: 070-760 56 34
PTS's Press Office, telephone: 08-678 55 55

About the investigation

The investigation has been carried out by Stelacon on behalf of PTS between 17 November and 6 December 2012. All in all, 256 government agencies have been queried about their work with IPv6 implementation. The survey response frequency among government agencies is 77 per cent. The investigation results can be found in full at the PTS website.

The investigation also included municipal implementation of IPv6. As with government agencies, the implementation among municipalities varies greatly. In general, government agencies have made more progress with the implementation.

Facts about IPv6

Each device that is connected to or communicates via the internet needs a unique IP address. This is required for information to be transmitted between the intended sender and recipient.

The current internet addresses are running out. Soon there will be no more addresses left to allocate in IPv4, which is the current address standard. IPv6 is the latest address standard used on the internet. The number of IPv6 addresses is far larger than the number of IPv4 addresses. When the IPv4 addresses run out, as more and more people start using the internet, there will be users who only have IPv6 addresses.

IPv4 and IPv6 cannot communicate with one another. This is why organisations need support for both standards, primarily for the public electronic services such as websites, domain name servers, e-mail servers and other public electronic services that the government agency provides to the general public. In order for organisations to maintain and improve their ability to communicate via the internet, it is therefore necessary to implement IPv6 alongside IPv4

Information about which government agencies have implemented IPv6 can be found using the PTS electronic service "Myndigheter med IPv6 IPv6" [Government agencies with IPV6].