Since the Internet is experiencing such an enormous growth, current version (IPv4) is running out of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. However, IPv6 has trillions more addresses available in which the Information Technology Department (ITD) plans to implement. As administrators of STAGEnet (state network), ITD acquired sufficient IP address space many years ago to plan for such an event. Not only will IPv6 provide more IP addresses, it contains a variety of enhancements that includes areas such as management, performance, mobility, and multi-casting or multimedia. As devices and applications start to take advantage of IPv6 functionality the network will need to accommodate these features.
STAGEnet also serves the higher education community, and an important role that Higher Education provides is research. IPv6 contains the necessary features to make it possible for higher education to continue to succeed in those efforts. Other projects such as VoIP, telemetry devices, and student technology adoption contribute to an ongoing increase in address space consumption.
Currently, the STAGEnet technical committee is engaged in a planning effort to further research and define how and when to implement IPv6 within STAGEnet. The results of that planning effort are schedule for completion by mid-summer. An upgrade or implementation of this significance has the potential to be fairly large and complex requiring a great deal of preparation and planning. ITD will continue to inform the entire STAGEnet community as these plans start to materialize. The full implementation is expected to take quite some time giving ample opportunity to ensure a successful deployment.