RealTime IT News

Juniper Networks Readies Platforms with IPv6

Networking concern Juniper Networks Inc. Wednesday made good on its goal to move toward next-generation networks with its revelation of IP version 6 (IPv6) capabilities across its five Net access and core router platforms and interfaces.

The IPv6 protocol extends Internet growth by increasing the number of available addresses for Internet-enabled devices. Posed as a set of specifications from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), IPv6 is the latest level of the Internet Protocol that is being added to operating systems and a slew of other products, particularly those of the mobile persuasion. Fitted to carry 128-bit e-mail addresses, it dwarfs the current IP Version 4 (IPv4) standard, which addresses no more than 28 bits.

This is crucial because most research firms believe the number of mobile Net users -- whether by smart phones, personal digital assistants, or other gadgets -- will balloon to the hundreds of millions over the next few years. Consider: Gartner Group said mobile Internet usage in Asia Pacific was up 52 percent in 2000 compared to 1999, and it estimates that the number of mobile phones in the world will exceed one billion in 2003.

All of which makes Juniper's progress noteworthy (although Compaq Computer Corp. and Cisco Systems inc. have been working on IPv6, too.) The IPv6 capability across its M-series platforms is made possible with the Internet Processor II ASIC, and the latest release of the JUNOS Internet software. With it, service providers and carriers may run IPv6 and IP version 4 (IPv4) concurrently in production networks without losing performance, said Sunnyvale, Calif.'s Juniper Networks.

GIP RENATER has been running a Juniper Networks M-series Internet router in its international POP to test IPv6 in a production network, while PAIX in Palo Alto, Calif., an IPv6 exchange point where North American, European and Asian IPv6 networks peer, also dropped Juniper Networks IPv6 into a tough live network environment. Both said Juniper's solutions passed their functionality tests.

IPv6 has been deployed on a supremely high bandwidth network, managed by France Telecom Research and Development (France Telecom R&D), since June 2001, initially using tunnels via another major vendor's equipment. France Telecom R&D completed a tests of IPv6 over the this network using Juniper Networks M20 and M40 Internet routers. The test validated IPv6 packet throughput at OC-48c/STM-16 speeds and interoperability with other platforms -- both of which are crucial to IPv6's successful implementation.

It is perhaps fitting, then, that France Telecom R&D posted some IPv6 news of its own Wednesday, as the group said it had tabbed Nokia to help it map out and evaluate its migration strategy to the protocol.