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Network World - Juniper Networks is accelerating its plan to support IPv6 on its public-facing Web site and Web services, following criticism that the router maker was lagging rivals including Cisco Systems and Brocade Networks in this critical area.
JUNIPER CRITICIZED: Juniper defends poky pace on IPv6-enabling its Web site
IPv6 is the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, which is called IPv4. IPv6 is a necessary upgrade for Web site and network operators because the Internet this week ran out of address space using IPv4.
IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet. IPv6, on the other hand, uses 128-bit addresses and supports a virtually unlimited number of devices -- 2 to the 128th power.
BYE, BYE: IPv4 addresses gone
In November, Juniper said that it would support IPv6 traffic on its main Web site by September 2012, the same date that Web sites operated by U.S. federal agencies are required to support IPv6.
Also in August, Cisco set up a special-purpose IPv6-only Web site and said it was experimenting with techniques for supporting IPv6 on its main Web site in 2011.
With pressure mounting for network vendors to deploy the IPv6 products that they are selling to carriers and enterprises, Juniper said it has made IPv6-enabling its Web site a higher priority.
"This is not just about our Web site. This is about getting content available over IPv6," says Alain Durand, a well-known IPv6 expert who recently joined Juniper as director of software engineering. "We are moving up our deadline because we need to show we have a story on all fronts [of IPv6] ... Getting content out over IPv6 is one of the main issues around deployment of this technology."
On Monday, Juniper said it has set up a special Web site -- http://ipv6.juniper.net/ -- that can handle IPv6 traffic immediately using a novel application of one of the company's routers that it is calling "Translator in the Cloud.''
Juniper is using its own Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT) offering that was announced in November to translate IPv6 requests for IPv4 content.
Juniper spokesman Greg Friedmann said the necessary technologies for the "Translator in the Cloud" application are in the current CGNAT solution running Junos 10.4, but that this solution hasn't been productized for general market delivery.
"We're inviting our customers to work with us in trial deployments to deliver the 'Translator in the Cloud' solution to work in their network environments," Friedmann said.
Durand says the "Translator in a Cloud" approach allowed Juniper to deploy IPv6 services quickly for the cost of a dedicated router.
"We [used] the CGNAT box to take the IPv6 traffic and translate it into regular IPv4 traffic and send it to our IPv4 Web site," Durand says. "It's the entire content made available over IPv6 very, very quickly. It only took us a couple of days."