As IPv6 starts to loom larger in more organizations, vendors continue to demonstrate how they support the emerging version of IP. Recently, the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory conducted a series of multi-vendor tests on the subject.
The lab prides itself on its position as one of the top third-party "proving grounds" for advanced network technologies. It claims to have the largest heterogeneous networking test bed in North America.
At the heart of the UNH tests was Moonv6, which is a permanent, multi-vendor IPv6 network connecting multiple locations across the country. The project is led by the North American IPv6 Task Force. The Department of Defense participates in Moonv6, which UNH says ensures that equipment tested on the network will meet the Defense Department's interoperability and migration objectives.
In the most recent tests, 13 companies tested networking-heavy office applications such as Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft MeetingPlace over IPv6. File sharing, printing and security were addressed, but UNH says that there are still applications that need to be tested, such as e-mail, enterprise QoS and network management tools.
“Most issues were implementations, not the protocol, and this suggests that for common system admins there will be something of a learning curve in setting up for IPv6,” Erica Johnson, IPv6 consortium manager at the UNH-IOL, said in a statement. “We’ve hit the core, but we’ve only scratched the surface of IPv6 for enterprise IT systems. The Moonv6 network is up 24/7 and anyone with applications can connect to it. As we keep seeing, there are always going to implementation hurdles, lessons learned, proprietary applications and devices that don’t support it yet, so the more testing, the sooner, the better.”
Participating companies included Adobe, Alcatel-Lucent, Command Information, Counterpath, HP, Hexago, Ixia, Juniper, Konica Minolta, Microsoft and Xerox.
The lab partnered with the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland to focus on Site Multihoming by IPv6 Intermediation, or SHIM6 for short. SHIM6 is an IPv6-only failover function - if one side of a link goes down, it automatically reroutes the connection without affecting any downloads in progress.