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Cisco Unveils IPv6 Solution for IOS Software

Cisco Systems Inc., looking to keep its spot as king of the hill in networking, Monday unveiled a router solution designed with the proliferation of new types of Internet devices and the growth of "always on" Internet access in mind.

Cisco will begin incorporating Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in its Cisco IOS Software by the end of May. The company said IOS Software release 12.2 T. Platforms will be the first to include the new software. Specific products include Cisco 800 Series Routers; 1400 Series Routers, 1600 Series Routers; 1700 Series Routers; 2500 Series Routers; 2600 Series Routers; 3600 Series Routers; 4500 and 4700 Series Routers; AS5300 and AS5400 Universal Access Servers; and 7100, 7200 and 7500 Series Routers.

The company has been conducting an extensive beta program with several hundred customers. These early adopter customers are in trials with the Cisco 7600 and 12000 Series Internet Routers.

IPv6 is a specification of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) which expands IP addresses to accommodate the proliferation of devices like PCs, personal digital assistants, wireless devices and other Internet appliances; the expansion of the Internet throughout the world; the increasing use of "always on" Internet access; and requirements of emerging Internet applications.

IPv6 is also meant to be more user-friendly. It provides integrated auto-configuration for plug-and-play capabilities, enhanced mobility and end-to-end security.

"While many vendors have been focused on delivering the 'wireless Internet' or the 'optical Internet,' Cisco has been working on integrating these and other technologies into the current Internet," said Stephen Deering, Cisco Fellow and lead designer of the protocol. "By building IPv6 into Cisco IOS software, we are enabling continued growth of the Internet and its expansion into new applications and capabilities in a way that maintains compatibility with existing Internet services."

IPv6 has already caught the attention of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., which, like other producers of game consoles, see a future of gamers hooking in to peer-to-peer networks to play games.

"IPv6 is a key solution for accelerating the arrival of the broadband era," said Ken Kutaragi, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "When all [Sony] PlayStation2 systems at home are connected to the network, and peer-to-peer communication and entertainment become common, a huge number of global IP addresses will become necessary. It is very meaningful for the industry that Cisco is delivering IPv6 today."

In addition to continuing to deliver new standards-compliant IPv6 features and solutions as the market for them grow, Cisco is also throwing its full weight behind customer support. The company is providing customer support for IPv6 through its Technical Assistance Center (TAC) and a full suite of training courses.