Simon Hicks

Simon Hicks


IPv6 has been around for a long time but only in recent years has it started to attract much attention.  Whilst we have seen increasing need for IP addresses we have also seen an increased use of address translation and other techniques that conserve the need for IPv4 addresses.  This means that the use of IPv6 is still very low and it remains something of a specialist area, despite promotion exercises in the past few years.  One may contend that the day is likely to come when the need for addresses will simply exceed that which IPv4 can supply and that the complexity of using address translation is too onerous.  It was against this background that the UK ministry responsible for electronic communications policy – the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills took informal soundings with key players as to where business in the UK is, and what is the best route ahead.  These discussions revealed a large amount of businesses and suppliers with a degree of IPv6 readiness, and a wish to work with it.  But only if all aspects of the systems were in place and services and equipment were available cost effectively.  BIS thus came to the conclusion that if all parties worked together so that all aspects were in place at the same time, then we could achieve a transition to IPv6 in the most cost effective way, that may well cost no more than normal equipment expenditure.  We did not see it as short term issue, it is something that may well take of the order of 10 years.  Particularly in the current financial climate the use of address translation remains for many the cheapest option if you are just looking a few years hence. 

It was felt that the best way to bring all the parties together was to have a cooperative forum where business, suppliers and users could work together to provide and take up IPv6.  With some seed funding from BIS, what we called 6UK was launched as an independent forum earlier this year.   We had a formal launch in November when Vint Cerf came to London for the event.  In this short presentation Simon describes the background to the formation of IPv6 and what it hopes to achieve in the future


Simon is Head of Communications Technology in the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) where he works on electronic communications and broadcasting technology policy, with particular reference to ICT standards.  He is a member of both the ETSI Board and the DVB Board.  He also participates in the 6UK Board and the NICC UK Board.  He has worked in BIS and it’s predecessor ministries since 2002.  During this time he has participated in a range of European Commission activities and steering groups on ICT and ICT standards.  He has an interest in Internet engineering and has promoted BIS interest in this area

Simon has been an engineer in the UK Civil Service since graduating and he spent a large part of his career in the in the UK Defence Ministry where he worked in radio communications engineering, leaving as the head of the group doing design and development of radio facilities for Air Force stations.

Outside of work Simon is married with a family and is an active member of his local Christian church.  A recently acquired family dog is trying to capture what remains of his free time….

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