The IPv6 Forum India is also planning to approach the Union government to come out with a national IPv6 policy which would help in speeding up the deployment of IPv6 in the country.
Speaking to eFE, IPv6 Forum India president Hemanth TD said, The Union ministry of communications and information technology has given full support for the IPv6 initiatives in the country and we are expecting the government to announce a national IPv6 Policy before end-2003. The Forum also has the support of Internet Service Providers Association of India and Trai.
Under the current protocol IPv4, of which only 36 per cent is still unutilised, only two lakh addresses have been earmarked for India and it is difficult to get allocation of IP addresses from the registry, Mr Hemanth said.
The life of IPv4 has being extended to the maximum using NAT (Network Address Translation), but the address space is getting exhausted. (In fact there are five levels of NAT in VSNL!). IPv4 NAT does not support peer-to-peer communication model which the original Internet was designed for.
Even after using NAT techniques, IPv4 can at the most be used up to 2010. So the best method to address such issues would be the gradual adoption of IPv6, he added.
IPv6 has several advantages over IPv4, the first being the 128-bit address used by IPv6 in place of 32-bit IPv4 address. IPsecurity was just an add on in IPv4, but it is built into IPv6. Autoconfiguration is another advantage of IPv6, which will enable plug n play functions compared to IPv4 where dynamic host configuration protocol which is not totally autoconfigured is used. IPv6 is also more easier and cost-effective to manage and has multicasting/anycasting capabilities.
IPv6 deployment trials have already started in the country with companies like HP, Wipro and Infosys having internal test beds on IPv6. IPv6 Forum has also facilitated the setting up of the first test-based network in Bangalore - Bv6 - which operates as a metro network. Under this network, Wipro has tied up with a local ISP to test IPv6 applications and HP is in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding with the ISP.
According to Mr Hemanth, 2003-04 would be a period of trials in IPv6 deployment where companies would gain experience on the benefits of the protocol and post-2005, India would see IPv6 deployment in actual production environments.