RealTime IT News

Verio Brings Its IPv6 to North America

While widely deployed in Europe and Asia, Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)— the next generation platform for Internet data traffic — hasn't been offered on a large scale in North America. Verio, a subsidiary of NTT Communications, hopes to change that.

Verio/NTT announced yesterday its plan to be what it describes as the first Internet service provider (ISP) to offer IPv6 across North America.

The company reports that the commercial service will be available by the end of this year. However, Verio is now offering customers the opportunity to participate in a pre-commercial service of IPv6 through five POPs in the San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. areas. IPv6 tunneling service is also available on a pre-commercial basis to customers of Verio's IPv4 services.

IPv6 was established to provide better performance, manageability, scalability and data protection than the 30-year-old IPv4 standard.

Verio attributes IPv6 higher profile in Europe and Asia to a shortage of available Global IP addresses, which has limited the flexibility in configuring corporate networks as well as implementing home appliance network.

Verio reports that in addition to addressing issues of overcrowding, IPv6 also offers benefits such as automatic configuration of IP addresses and security. "As Internet-enabled mobile devices and home appliances continue to grow in popularity in the United States, we will provide IPv6 service to give our customers a better way to send data, regardless of whether they are using a high-performance network like Ethernet or a low-bandwidth wireless solution," said Yukimasa Ito, president of Verio's Global IP Network division.

Stan Barber, vice President engineering and operations for Verio's broadband division, said IPv6 offers "more address space on an order of magnitude [128-bit addressing vs. 32-bit addressing in IPv4]. It also offers auto-configuration. It doesn't need to sit on top of TCP/IP and it provides security end to end."

One of the reasons that IPv6 hasn't been demanded more in the United States is a testament to innovation of companies using IPv6, Barber said. "Companies have been able to squeeze more out of IPv4."

The pre-commercial phase, Barber said, will allow Verio to "tune the products for our constituencies." That tuning, he said, mostly revolves around services and support as opposed to technology issues.

Barber wouldn't comment on specific pricing models, but he did say, "We don't want cost to be a barrier. Our goal is drive acceptance in North America."

Verio's announcement came at the North American IPv6 Summit in San Diego. Summit Chairman Alex Lightman said IPv6 is essential for new technologies such as fourth-generation cellular networks.

"By supplying IPv6 service to this year's Summit, Verio is giving us a glimpse of the future of communications," he said. "IPv6 will make great strides in the next year. Conference attendance indicates the strong support from both the industry and government sectors."

For example, Lightman said, the Department of Defense recently announced it will implement IPv6 to "facilitate integration of the essential elements of DoD's Global Information Grid — its sensors, weapons, platforms, information and people."

NTT Com, Verio's parent company, will support the Verio IPv6 initiative on its NTT/Verio Global IPv6 backbone network, which is already delivering commercial service in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Spain.