Pearls of IPv6 wisdom at GOVIS

A small number of Government IT managers benefited today from an IPv6 pep-talk from the New Zealand IPv6 Task Force. Speaking at the GOVIS Conference, Task Force member Donald Clark was on hand to advise how best to go about implementing this most important of protocols.

Clark’s message to the audience was simple; IPv6 is happening, whether you like it or not. It’s better to orderly progress IPv6 rather than chaotically change, and deploying IPv6 is simply “best practice”.

The Task Force promotes a low-cost ‘business-as-usual’ approach to IPv6 adoption. Clark says the first step is to “acknowledge” that IPv6 is happening. In a nod to the recent success of World IPv6 Launch, Clark, for example, noted that 70 percent of pageviews on the global Internet are now available via IPv6 and the protocol is slowly but surely penetrating the global Internet.

In New Zealand, native IPv6 traffic is still relatively small at 0.11 percent. In France, by contrast, the figure is nearer five percent. However, New Zealand is well advanced from an infrastructure point-of-view, ranking among the top countries for percentage of networks announcing IPv6.

As a significant purchaser of ICT, the public sector is incredibly important from an IPv6 adoption perpective and, while the New Zealand Government hasn’t mandated IPv6, many other countries have. This is significant, says Clark, because 72 percent of New Zealand’s export trade by value is to countries where there is some form of government IPv6 mandate.

“If we want to continue to be able to access government supply contracts in those markets we need to be able to accept and respond in IPv6,” he says.

The pointy end of IPv6 road-mapping involves specifying boxes that have feature parity between v4 and v6 and drafting ICT policies that are IP-version agnostic. “Start with your website or a key service, pick off some key wins and repeat until complete,” says Clark.

This appears to be happening in New Zealand’s public service, with an increasing number of high profile government websites up-and-running on IPv6. These include the Ministry of Science & Innovation, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Ministry of Culture & Heritage and the Department of Internal Affairs. The Government DNS is also now fully IPv6-enabled.

More information on New Zealand’s general state of IPv6 readiness is available at

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