Why and How of IPv6
Do you remember the operator-assisted phone systems now only alive in
old black and white movies? An operator sitting behind a large board of
plugs would literally connect you to your call. Imagine how cumbersome
a system like that would be today, where the majority of people not only
have access to a phone but also carry a cell phone. A system like this
has definite limitations for the demands of todays users (and probably
did then), which is why it is no longer in use.
Eventually the current Internet technology, Internet Protocol version
4 (IPv4), will be as restricting to people, businesses and the implementation
of new technologies as the old phone system would be in todays work
environment. As many of you know, IPv4 has limitations that will hinder
developments in Voice over IP (VoIP), mobile applications and devices,
and network centric war fighter communications for the military. Specifically,
the limitations are the need for Network Address Translation (NAT) and
the limitation on the number of available IP addresses. By transitioning
a network to IPv6, these issues can be more easily addressed.
In this article we will take a look at what specifically is driving the
transition to IPv6 and what you need to know about IPv6 to ensure a successful
The Demand for Addresses
How is it that we can run out of IP addresses? Since the dawn of the Internet,
large numbers of applications have been developed to further leverage
this revolutionary medium, greatly increasing the number of services,
customers and devices requiring unique IP addresses. Three distinct factors
can be pointed to as drivers.
The US Department of Defense (DoD), having the most immediate need
for additional IP addresses, is the lead driver with IPv6 compliance
requirements already in place. All new networking equipment purchases
must be IPv6 compatible, and Department-wide IPv6 usage is scheduled
by 2008. As the DoD moves to implement the concept of network
centric warfare (its ability to access, gather, process, and
manage information to the benefit of the war fighter and all the military),
each weapon, soldier, helmet, tank, etc. will require an individual
IP address in order to be part of the network, dramatically increasing
DoDs demand for IP addresses. The Navy-Marine Corps Intranet
(NMCI) and Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE) projects
are two of the most visible DoD programs that are already following
the mandate to migrate to IPv6. Juniper Networks products
have been installed in both networks.
Wireless access to information through a growing market of new devices
such as cell phones, PCs, PDAs, etc. further increases the need for
additional IP addresses. Enterprise wireless email users alone numbered
3.2 million in 2004, 60 percent more than 2003, according to technology
market research firm Radicati Group, a number that is expected to
continue to grow.
With broadband access more common and increasingly affordable, online
gaming in both the US and abroad is on the rise. From January 2002
to 2003, the online gaming industry in Europe more than doubled its
population of users to 5.8 million, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.
In the U.S. alone, online gaming will grow to approximately 24% of
all gaming revenues (~$10.8B) in 2006, according to Jupiter Media
Metrix. With revenues from computer games now exceeding that from
the Hollywood box office and people of all ages seeking their entertainment
online (whether by computer games or file sharing), there will be
an increased number of users, each needing a unique IP address.
Ensuring a Successful Transition to IPv6
Exactly when an organization will need to have the capabilities to support
IPv6 depends on its enterprise and business needs. For many, this means
that there is enough time to plan before diving into a network transformation.
Based on the Juniper Networks experience with networks like NMCI and GIG-BE,
its support of Aberdeen and Moonv6 (functional IPv6 networks), and its
R&D related to IPv6, here are some items to know to ensure a successful
transition to IPv6.
Dual support of v6 and v4
Although the adoption of v6 has been readily accepted in Asia and
Europe, the United States has been slower to adopt because the perceived
need has not been great outside the DoD. And because adoption will
happen at different rates across various industry segments, it will
be important to have dual stack IPv6 and IPv4 support. Juniper Networks
products such as NetScreen 5XT and 500 provide dual stack abilities
at the CPE and firewall, respectively, while the E and M Series allow
for this at the core and edge of the network.
Support Dual Data paths for SOHO and Branch Office
Using this dual path model, small office/home offices (SOHOs) and
company headquarters can benefit from the ability to separate corporate
encrypted traffic from non-secure Internet traffic. This prioritization
of network traffic allows for greater network efficiency and additional
Support Existing Service Provider Backbones to Offer Enhanced IPv6
Products such as the Juniper E Series router allow for IPv4 addresses
to be assigned an IPv6 prefix for IPv6 addressing. This also serves
as a 6PE, enabling IPv6 over existing MPLS backbones, allowing service
providers to offer enhanced services with guaranteed QoS. Through
these features, service providers will be able to offer enhanced IPv6.
With the adoption of IPv6 come financially viable deployment options for
the enterprise and service providers. The transition can be accomplished
without compromising security, quality of service, availability or performance.
Juniper Networks understands the importance of these factors and has products
such as the E and M Series and NetScreen product lines that uniquely provide
routed IPv6 end-to-end.
For more information on Juniper Networks IPv6 capabilities, contact Rod