Manhasset, N.Y. - Verio Inc. last week launched a commercial IPv6 gateway in North America that features native, tunneling and dual-stack services. Using an IPv6-enabled router, the gateway will allow U.S. customers to connect to parent company NTT Communications Corp.'s global tier-one IPv6 backbone operating in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia, Verio said.
The service is driven primarily by the need for more Internet Protocol addresses, particularly outside the United states, said Cody Christman, director of product engineering for Verio (Englewood, Colo.). Verio announced the service at IPv6 Summit 2003, in Arlington, Va.
"AT&T alone has more addresses than all of China," said Christman, "so the worldwide move to IPv6 is gathering momentum." IPv6 allows more addresses through its use of 128-bit address space, vs. IPv4's 32-bit space.
Other drivers included the need for better security, peer-to-peer connectivity and autoconfiguration capabilities. The autoconfiguration feature is particularly attractive, Christman said. "An IP-enabled device in the home can now be simply plugged into the network, and it's automatically configured. There's no need to run an RS-232 line to it [to set it up]."
Verio is currently seeing a pull for IPv6 from Internet service providers, universities, research institutions, next-generation application providers and organizations that focus on non-PC based devices and wireless technologies, Christman said. Wireless devices in particular are a draw as they proliferate with IP capability.
Deployment issues with IPv6 have centered to date on what methods will allow the protocol to roll, while also supporting IPv4. Some have argued for pure native support, others for tunneling and some for a dual-stack implementation where a system supports both IPv4 and IPv6 in a single chassis. Verio chose to support all three modes via a software upgrade to its Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems routers running the JunOS and IOS operating systems, respectively.
The gateway will offer many of the same features as IPv4 connectivity, including fixed or burstable bandwidth, multihoming, shadow circuits, Border Gateway Protocol, multiple T1 lines and Domain Name System. Future enhancements will leverage features exclusive to IPv6, including augmented virtual private networking, the company said.
Unlike IPv4, said Christman, IPv6 has enhanced capabilities that allow for full integration of the IPsec framework, thereby enabling end-to-end, secure communications.