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Juniper's Big IPv6 in China

What may turn out to be the world's largest IPv6 network is going to be using Juniper Networks's routing platform to handle the next generation of Internet traffic.

Juniper has announced that the China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) IPv6 project will be powered by Juniper's M- and T-series routing platforms. Financial terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed.

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) launched the CNGI initiative in 2003 with the goal of creating a countrywide IPv6 backbone. CNGI is projected to include 39 GigaPOP network points of presence covering 20 cities across China.

IPv6 is the successor to the 30-year-old IPv4 protocol which forms the backbone of the internet today. The new protocol includes many enhancements over its middle-aged predecessor, improving security, mobility and routing.

Juniper expects that its routers will enable services such as VoIP and video streaming, as well as provide for Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) .

The JUNOS operating system, which powers the Juniper routers, includes support for IPv4 to IPv6 networking, which is seen in some areas of the world as a potential barrier to adoption of the next generation of IP.

Jeff Doyle, senior product marketing manager for JUNOS at Juniper, explained that the barriers to IPv6 vary depending on the region of the world you are in.

In Asia, it is seen as a clear necessity while in the U.S., according to Doyle, there is little feeling of urgency. Europe tends to be between these two views.

"The barriers to IPv6 are a clear model for profitability and concerns about seamless coexistence with IPv4," Doyle told internetnews.com. "As more and more network-enabled devices and services come onto the market and the price of bandwidth to the home and office continues to fall, the demand for IP addresses will make IPv6 profitable."

According to Doyle the U.S. lags behind much of the rest of the world in IPv6 deployment, primarily due to a lower urgency regarding existing IP address space and the lack of a government initiative similar to CNGI in China or the e-Japan initiative in Japan.

In June, a U.S. House of Representatives panel was told that Asia and Europe have more than $800 million invested in IPv6. The House panel was warned that without U.S. government leadership the U.S. economy could face potentially devastating consequences.