Facilitating the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 (Resolution 180, Rev. Busan 2014)

1 Nov 2014


When IPv4 was introduced, back in 1983, it was thought that the four billion IP numbers available would be enough to satisfy the demand. But this proved to be wrong, as the rise of worldwide Internet connectivity and the developments in the areas of Internet-enabled devices and the Internet of Things lead to a significant increase in the demand for IP addresses and to a process of depletion of IPv4 numbers.

To respond to these challenges, a new version of the TCP/IP protocol was developed – the IPv6, which provides a much bigger pool of IP numbers. However, the deployment of IPv6 is a rather slow process, because of multiple reasons such as: lack of awareness, limited funds available for investments in developing countries, and lack of compatibility between IPv4 and IPv6.

The ongoing transition to IPv6 is a process that has attracted attention and involvement from a wide range of stakeholders. Members states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have also discussed about this issue, and, at the ITU plenipotentiary meeting in 2010, they adopted a resolution on ‘Facilitating the transition for IPv4 to IPv6’. This was later amended at the 2014 ITU plenipotentiary meeting in Busan.

The amended resolution emphasises the need to accelerate the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, and notes that the involvement of all stakeholders is essential for the success of this process. It underlines the importance of awareness raising and capacity building initiatives, and of exchanges of experience and information related to the deployment of IPv6, and calls for a closer cooperation in this area between ITU and other stakeholders such as the regional Internet registries and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The ITU is also called to support member states which require assistance in the management and allocation of IPv6 resources, and, as part of this process, to monitor the allocation mechanisms, identify possible flaws and make proposals for changes to existing policies.

Member states are invited to support and promote IPv6-related capacity building initiatives at a national and regional level, to develop national policies aimed at ensuring that the communications infrastructures and applications used for public services are IPv6 compatible, and to encourage manufactures and information service providers to supply equipment and services that support IPv6.

The amended resolution was part of the final acts of the Busan plenipotentiary meeting, and it was signed by 150 ITU member states.

Signatory states mandated the ITU Secretary-General to prepare progress reports on the implementation of the resolution and submit them to the ITU member states and the Internet community.