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Nokia Aids France Telecom on Path to IPv6

France Telecom R&D will have Nokia's help as it maps out and evaluates its migration strategy to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), the two companies said Wednesday.

Transition to IPv6 is seen as a critical step, especially in the mobile industry, because the new protocol dramatically increases the number of possible IP addresses, making it possible to assign every electronic device a global IP address. The protocol also offers built-in support for security and quality of service.

"IPv6 is a key strategic enabling technology of the future Mobile Internet that Nokia is taking an active role in building, and we are proud to work for this goal with France Telecom, one of the biggest global operators in the world," said Ronan Trebaol, head of Solutions & Applications, Orange Customer Business Team at Nokia.

The two companies actually started working toward the migration in September, when Nokia delivered IP650 network security appliances to France Telecom. The two will approach the evaluation in several phases, testing IPv6 routing and forwarding, interworking between suppliers, IPv4/IPv6 transition mechanisms, and Nokia IP network security appliances.

The deal between France Telecom and Nokia is further evidence of Nokia's ambition in the infrastructure space. The company told analysts and investors in October that it expects the overall mobile network infrastructure market to be flat to slightly positive in 2002, though it has also given guidance that it expects to show infrastructure sales growth of about 15 percent. When it comes to equipping carriers, the company holds about a 30 percent market share in the GSM infrastructure market, and is targeting a 35 percent share in the WCDMA market.

Nokia predicted that its own accessible market will expand by more than 10 percent in the coming year as operators in the Americas convert from TDMA to GSM/EDGE and as Japan and Korea convert to WCDMA.