At a glance: Eight government agencies set targets for advanced internet infrastructure roll-out, focusing on the address system IPv6. Targets include an acceleration of the domestic roll-out and R&D as well as international standard setting. The main objectives set for 2025 are:
- Achieve breakthroughs in internet related innovation, such as IPv6 and supplementing alternatives, such as IPv6+, and become a leader in global IPv6 development
- Advance the ecosystem around IPv6, including the completion of core technologies (chips, security systems, software) and commercialization of specialized IPv6-related innovations, such as IPv6+, and Segment Routing (SRv6)
- Replace IPv4 in the internet backbone, 5G and other networks with IPv6-only (single stack), IPv6+ and other new solutions
- Promote the adoption of advanced internet technologies in industries like manufacturing, energy, finance and education, and create over 50 “IPv6+ innovation cities”
MERICS comment: The policy implements a three step plan from 2017 to upgrade China’s internet addressing system. The current protocol (IPv4) does not have enough unique addresses for all the devices connected to the world wide web today, necessitating a gradual transition to IPv6 across all global internet hardware. The new system will provide a stable foundation for the proliferation of digital devices connected to the internet.
A key difference of these new policy guidelines compared to previous plans is the unprecedented emphasis on IPv6+, a controversial alternative to the globally accepted IPv6. IPv6+ is a routing system for internet data that enables network providers to prioritize the transfers based on the type of content and who the senders or receivers are. Current standards do not allow such information to be shared and ensure net neutrality, i.e., the equal treatment of internet data transfers.
While net neutrality is being upheld in Europe, China is moving full steam ahead with the rollout of IPv6+ infrastructure and hopes to reap the rewards of additional network performance in virtually all sectors, ranging from smart manufacturing, to transport and energy. This could strengthen its position as a manufacturing base, to the detriment of other economies which ensure net neutrality in their jurisdictions, such as Europe.
Article: Implementation Opinions on Promoting the Evolution of IPv6 Technology and the Innovative Development of Applications (工业和信息化部等八部门关于推进IPv6技术演进和应用创新发展的实施意见) (Link)
Issuing body: MIIT, CAC, NDRC, MOE, MOT, PBOC, SASAC, NEA
Date: April 23, 2023