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World economy group gives IPv6 big push

Warns about depletion of IPv4 addresses

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The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) sounded an alarm bell yesterday over the rapid depletion of IPv4 internet addresses and gave the IPv6 protocol another push.

In the new report titled The Future of the Internet Economy, which has been published ahead of the group’s ministerial meeting in Seoul next month, the OECD supports the widely-held view that the currently-used version of the Internet Protocol (IP) will run out of addresses in 2011.

It observed that “beyond building IPv6 skills and applications within governmental bodies, public procurement mandates also lead to a virtuous cycle of adoption by instigating the development of skills within technology partners".

Network Address Translation (NAT), which makes it possible for several systems to share a single IPv4 address, is already widely used.

But it’s a stop gap system, viewed by some observers as an imperfect and costly work-around. The report claimed that enterprise and application vendors spend as much as 30 per cent of IT-related expenditures on the system’s sub-par communication protocol tweaks.

The report echoes internet search giant Google’s call earlier this week for the wider adoption of IPv6 as a long-term solution to what is becoming a growing concern for the tech industry.

“While technologies such as Network Address Translation can offer temporary respite," it said, "they complicate the internet's architecture, pose barriers to the development of new applications, and run contrary to network openness principles.”

Google also took the opportunity to point out that its search facility was now available over IPv6. It even gave Microsoft's unloved OS a shout-out.

“With current operating systems such as Windows Vista, Mac OS X, and Linux providing high-quality support for IPv6, we hope it's only a matter of time before IPv6 is widely deployed,” it said.

The full report can be read here here (pdf). ®

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