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IPv6 expert sees adoption growing . . . slowly

By , Network World
September 27, 2004 12:13 AM ET

Network World - For a decade, network executives have been awaiting the arrival of IPv6, an upgrade to the current version of the Internet Protocol, IPv4. IPv6 promises a dramatically larger addressing scheme as well as enhanced security and easier administration. Senior Editor Carolyn Duffy Marsan recently interviewedJim Bound, chair of the North American IPv6 Task Force and CTO of the IPv6 Forum, about the status of IPv6 deployment. A Hewlett-Packard Fellow, Bound is a contributor to the IPv6 specifications and an early implementer of the technology.

Years ago, people talked about a future where all sorts of household appliances - toasters, coffee pots - would be hooked up to the Internet. This was part of the rationale for IPv6. What is the current thinking about Internet-enabled appliances?

Jim BoundThe IPv6 Forum is not seeing any new announcements regarding Internet appliances. The reason for that is we don't have an IPv6 infrastructure. Japan is the only country that has a native IPv6 production network. All the providers in Japan are on that network. In fact, the Internet backbone in Japan is IPv6-enabled. They're still all pilot projects in other countries. The hype of Internet appliances is going to become a reality. . . . That's going to take five to eight years.

What is the status of Moonv6? [A native IPv6 backbone jointly operated by the North American IPv6 Task Force, the University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Lab, the Department of Defense and the Internet2 university consortium.]

Moonv6 is going to be one of the saving graces for IPv6 in the U.S. We hope to have most U.S. providers onboard as Moonv6 peering sites very, very soon. We have [memorandums of understanding] with China BII Group who is working with China Next Generation Internet Project (CNGI), the 6NET and EUROSIX in Europe, Multiswitching Forum (MSF), and we're working with the Korean IPv6 project, and others to build MOUs.

Moonv6 is a backbone of agreed-upon peerings in the Internet. We have a site in Chicago with [Internet2's] Abilene, one at the University of New Hampshire and we'll have one in Palo Alto soon. The Defense Information Systems Agency Joint Interoperability Test Command is a participating Moonv6 site. These sites agree to route traffic over native IPv6. We will permit tunneling for a grace period, but we're moving to native IPv6.

Which U.S. service providers are on Moonv6 right now?

The ISPs we are speaking and working with regarding Moonv6 are NTT Verio,AT&T, Sprint, MCI, and Verizon, but we're putting requests out for all ISPs in North America. In addition, we are speaking with ISPs in Europe and Asia.

How long is it going to take for an IPv6 infrastructure to be commercially available in the U.S.?

It's going to take a couple of years. I think 2006 is going to be the big year. The vendors have done a wonderful job of shipping products. They've done a wonderful job of marketing and PR. But we've got two years worth of work. We still do not have the applications. How can GM or JC Penney or Boeing move to IPv6 when there are no applications for it? That would be insanity. We need applications like Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP to be IPv6-compliant. We're talking to those folks now.

NTT Verio has been offering commercial IPv6 service for three years but the company admits it has few customers. Are there any new developments in terms of commercial IPv6 offerings from the ISPs?

No, there isn't. NTT is way ahead of the curve. NTT had a site up for the 6Bone [an IPv6 test network] back in 1998 or 1999. The IPv6 Forum is holding a meeting Nov. 16-17 in Washington, D.C. that is focused on ISPs. We're going to ask them about their plans for commercial offerings.

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