Agencies probably will not meet a Sept. 30 deadline to upgrade their publically facing external servers to Internet protocol version 6, according to Federal News Radio.
A 2010 memo from the Office of Management and Budget directed all government agencies to transition their servers to IPv6 by the end of fiscal 2012, but a weekly report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology said only 58 percent had met the target several weeks before the deadline.
IP addresses are numerical labels assigned to every Internet-capable device. IPv4 relied on a 32-bit system that allowed for approximately 232, or 4.3 billion IP addresses. FNR reported there were approximately 1.6 million IPv4 addresses left, and many projections estimate that the world will run out of IPv4 addresses within a couple of years. According to the Internet Society, IPv6 addresses, which use a complex alphanumeric system to label devices, will never be depleted.
FNR also reported this will not be the first time that federal agencies have missed a key deadline for systems upgrades. The White House issued a memo in 2005 directing all agencies to convert their network backbones to IPv6 by 2008, but according to FNR, many agencies were still dual stacking, or running these services using both IPv4 and IPv6. FNR said the Treasury Department, General Services Administration and the Commerce Department were the furthest behind in upgrading to IPv6.