7 November 2016
The Internet Architecture Board (IAB), following discussions in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), advises its partner Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and organizations that the pool of unassigned IPv4 addresses has been exhausted, and as a result we are seeing an increase in both dual-stack (that is, both IPv4 and IPv6) and IPv6-only deployments, a trend that will only accelerate. Therefore, networking standards need to fully support IPv6. The IETF as well as other SDOs need to ensure that their standards do not assume IPv4.
The IAB expects that the IETF will stop requiring IPv4 compatibility in new or extended protocols. Future IETF protocol work will then optimize for and depend on IPv6.
Preparation for this transition requires ensuring that many different environments are capable of operating completely on IPv6 without being dependent on IPv4 [see RFC 6540]. We recommend that all networking standards assume the use of IPv6, and be written so they do not require IPv4. We recommend that existing standards be reviewed to ensure they will work with IPv6, and use IPv6 examples. Backward connectivity to IPv4, via dual-stack or a transition technology, will be needed for some time. The key issue for SDOs is to remove any obstacles in their standards which prevent or slow down the transition in different environments.
In addition, the IETF has found it useful to add IPv6 to its external resources (e.g., Web, mail) and to also run IPv6 on its conference network since this helps our participants and contributors and also sends the message that we are serious about IPv6. That approach might be applicable to other SDOs.
We encourage the industry to develop strategies for IPv6-only operation. We welcome reports of where gaps in standards remain, requiring further developments in IPv6 or other protocols. We are also ready to provide support or assistance in bridging those gaps.