The first version of the of the USGv6 standards profile was published in 2008 and the USGv6 test program became operational in 2009. In the years since the USGv6 Program (as the effort is commonly known) has been referenced in Federal Acquisition Regulations, used as the basis for USG Agency strategic plans and acquisition policies and has resulted in the detailed documentation and test of IPv6 capabilities in a large number of commercial products.
In November 2020, OMB issued memorandum M-21-07 "Completing the Transition to Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)", which outlines the Federal government's strategic intent "to deliver its information services, operate its networks, and access the services of others using only IPv6". The policy also instructed NIST to update and expand its USGv6 standards profile and test program to facilitate this government-wide initiative.
In anticipation of this request, NIST and its partners undertook a significant revision of the USGv6 Profile and Test Program to update their technical specifications and streamline their use in Federal procurement processes. USGv6-r1, the first major revision of the USGv6 Program, has several objectives:
To add new specifications for important IPv6 capabilities that have been developed since the publication of the first profile.
Highlights of these additions include technologies to support emerging use cases such as the Internet of Things, new forms of IPv6 transition technologies, support for “IPv6-Only” environments, and better support for specification of IPv6 enabled applications.
To remove specifications for IPv6 capabilities included in the first version of the profile, but that have since failed to achieve significant support in commercial products and network deployments.
To simplify the means of expressing product IPv6 requirements and capabilities.
The same concise Capability Summary String (CSS) notation is used for expressing product requirements and the results of product testing.
A concise summary of the technical definition of each named IPv6 capability is provided by the USGv6 Capabilities Table.
More detailed guidance is provided on recommended minimal requirements for products to be considered "USGv6 Capable".
To separate the definition of IPv6 Capability Profiles from their specific use in USG acquisition programs so as to permit other user groups to re-use the capability profiles and their aligned product testing programs.To achieve this last goal, we have refactored the original USGv6 profile into two distinct documents.
The NIST IPv6 Profile defines a basic taxonomy of IPv6 capabilities defined in terms of IETF specifications, resulting in named capability sets for common network functions and usage scenarios.
The USGv6 Profile, inherits from and refines the generic NIST IPv6 profile for use in Federal IT acquisitions.
To update and consolidate the description and operation of the USGv6 Test Program to reflect the lessons learned in the implementation of that program to date.
Highlights of these changes include a more concise and consistent notation for documenting IPv6 capabilities, better support for testing in IPv6-Only environments, and an improved and streamlined Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDOC) for documenting test results.
This revision to the USGv6 Test Program strengthens the commitment to maintain synchronization with the industry driven IPv6 Ready Logo program so as to minimize testing requirements on vendors.
The USG move toward IPv6-only network environments dramatically increases the need to assure the quality, completeness and interoperability of the IPv6 capabilities in IT products and services. While IPv6-only environments will greatly reduce the complexity of operating dual-stacked networks, it does imply that systems will not be able to rely on IPv4 as a fall back service. This revision to the USGv6 Profile and Test Program is aimed at providing the tools that agencies can use to protect future investments in IPv6 enabled products and services.