6Sense: Generating New Possibilities in the New Internet.
Produced by: IPv6 Summit, Inc.

The Why and How of IPv6
Rod Murchison, Juniper Networks

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 today’s 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 today’s 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 transition.

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.

  1. 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 DoD’s 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 security.

  • 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.

Conclusion

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 at rod@juniper.net.