October 2004 Newsletter

In this issue we introduce two IPv6 leaders, Dr. Vinton Cerf and John Osterholz, who will be keynoting at the US IPv6 Summit; get insights into the next frontier of IPv6 routing from Spirent Federal; enumerate and illustrate ten reasons for accelerated IPv6 adoption; and link up to IPv6 transition strategies from one of the world’s pioneering software outsourcing firms.
There are just two months to go before the US IPv6 Summit 2004 (Dec. 7-10 at the Hyatt Regency, Reston, VA. See www.coalitionsummit.com. The roster of sponsors indicates an expansion in the companies most interested in IPv6 leadership, which add software, service, training, and systems integration companies. Spirent Federal is our grand sponsor (see article by Bill Kine below). First time sponsors of an IPv6 Summit include SI International, Northrop Grumman, Lucent, Booz Allen Hamilton, and WareOnEarth, while returning sponsors include Nortel, Nokia, IP Infusion, Foundry Networks and Sunset Learning, all of which have a focus on serving the US federal government. Other companies are in process to formulating their IPv6 strategy and will be added soon.
I highly recommend attending the IPv6 Summit: it’s a chance to see an industry transformation as well as a technology transition of historic and global proportions with virtually of the leaders available for questions and discussion, and an unprecedented opportunity for executives, engineers, and administrators from industry and government to meet up and discuss teaming up for the DoD IPv6 Transition as well as other, yet unannounced, government initiatives for IPv6.
We have four great keynote speakers. I’ll summarize the backgrounds of Dr. Vinton Cerf and John Osterholz in this October issue, and the next two, including Dr. Charles (Chuck) Lynch, in the November issue.
We are honored that Dr. Vinton G. Cerf, widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” will be joining us again. Dr. Cerf gave an energizing keynote at our IPv6 Summit in Santa Monica this past June, and has a very unique perspective on the IPv6 transition as in leader in military, corporate, and public service realms for over three decades.
Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. In December 1997, President Clinton presented the U.S. National Medal of Technology to Cerf and his partner, Robert E. Kahn, for founding and developing the Internet. Currently, Vinton G. Cerf is Senior Vice President of Technology Strategy for MCI. In this role, Cerf is helping to guide corporate strategy development from the technical perspective. Prior to rejoining MCI in 1994, Cerf was Vice President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI). As Vice President of MCI Digital Information Services from 1982-1986, he led the engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service to be connected to the Internet.
During his tenure from 1976-1982 with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Cerf played a key role leading the development of Internet and Internet-related data packet and security technologies. Vint Cerf serves as chairman of the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
We are very pleased that John Osterholz, who was our insightful keynote speaker from the Dept. of Defense at our IPv6 Summits in June and December 2003, will be able to join us again. Mr. Osterholz recently joined BAE Systems as the Vice President, C4ISR, after nearly 35 years of distinguished government service, including close collaboration with John Stenbit, former CIO of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and participation in the decision to mandate a transition to IPv6.
For the past four years, as Director - C4ISR Architecture and Interoperability, John was the principal OSD staff assistant for the development, oversight and integration of DoD C4ISR policies and programs relating to the strategy of information superiority for the Department of Defense. He has also served as Director, C4ISR Integration Support Activity, Director, Military Satellite Office, Deputy Director - Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and Assistant Director - White House Military Office.

IPv6 Routing

IPv6 is here. The communications industry no longer refers to IPv6 in the future tense, discussing how wonderful it will be. IPv6 has arrived, and it is fulfilling all of its promises. IPv6 products, applications and solutions are available today. IPv6 networks are gradually increasing in size and popularity worldwide. Hosts, servers and routers are routinely using 128-bit addresses, neighbor discovery and auto-configuration. Therefore it is now time to advance the discussions of IPv6 to the next logical level - routing.
Routing is a fundamental part of the Internet Protocol, regardless of the version number. In fact, IP was built based upon the concepts of subnets and routing. The same level of forethought and planning has gone into IPv6. Subnets, aggregation and even multicast routing can be easily denoted by the inherent IPv6 address and/or prefix.
The move to IPv6 was designed to be an evolutionary process. Modern workstations, servers and routers should now be upgradeable to the next generation of the Internet Protocol. In fact, the whole upgrade procedure should be painless for the users. However, this migration will be a lengthy process and will require both versions to peacefully coexist for many years - perhaps an entire decade!
Routing protocols also need to adapt to the new version of IP. The four most common protocols: BGP, IS-IS, RIP and OSPF already have IPv6 extensions. In fact, all four of these protocols can support IPv4 and IPv6 concurrently, facilitating multiprotocol transitional networks. Most major router vendors have already implemented these extensions, known as BGP4+, IS-ISv6, RIPng and OSPFv3. These implementations build upon the vendors' solid IPv4 protocol foundations.
IPv6 Routing - The Brave New World
Although all of the major router and switch vendors have successfully implemented IPv6 routing protocols, actual real-world experience with these solutions is quite limited. IPv4 has had 20 years to shake-out (or work around) all of its bugs, issues and limitations. Over that time period, IPv4 and all of its ancillary protocols have been revised, optimized and enhanced many times. Furthermore, a great deal of collective and individual expertise has been accumulated regarding IPv4 networks.
The current suite of routing protocols was constructed specifically for IPv4 networks. Its associated options, methodologies and algorithms have been refined over many years to accommodate all of the nuances of IPv4. These protocols were all completed long before IPv6 was even conceived. In fact, although this may seem rather harsh, it is fair to say that IPv6 was an afterthought for these protocols.
There is a severe shortage of real-world experience with large IPv6 networks. The largest contemporary IPv6 network contains fewer than 1,000 routes - by contrast, the IPv4 Internet has 140,000 routes. Many of the fundamental principles of the IPv4 routing protocols remain unproven in the emerging IPv6 world. Maximum quantities of peer routers, route table sizes, convergence times and filter capacities all vary considerably as the users migrate to IPv6; in fact, many of these metrics are entirely unknown. Furthermore, the performance and scalability of routers and protocols in a mixed IPv4/IPv6 environment is even more unpredictable; and transitional networks are expected to exist for many years to come.
IPv6 Routing - The Next Phase of Testing
Over the past few years, users have successfully tested the basic performance and functionality of their workstations and applications over IPv6. These have typically been small-scale "proof of concept" tests in controlled laboratory environments. It is now time to expand these tests to large-scale Internet operations. Network architects should fully stress test their equipment and protocols in order to understand their performance and functional characteristics and limitations.
Testing will help determine how a modified IPv4 routing protocol operates in an IPv6 environment. Comprehensive functional testing will further validate that all of the IPv4 attributes have been adequately adapted for IPv6. However, additional routing protocol modifications may be necessary as new IPv6 features are developed.
Scalability tests are even more critical. Routing protocols have been designed to propagate 32-bit IPv4 addresses. Therefore their performance and scalability will be different for the new 128-bit addresses. Furthermore, IPv6 has been designed to overcome the address depletion problems currently associated with IPv4. And IPv6 fixes this issue in a big way! Routing tables could potentially contain millions of prefixes. (Or even billions or trillions or more!) This will directly impact the routing and protocol performance, and may even overload some systems. Emulating and testing the limits and the performance of the modified routing protocols such as OSPFv3 in huge IPv6 networks will help users design and optimize their IPv6 infrastructures.
Crystal Ball - What Will the Future Bring?
The current popular sets of IPv4 routing protocols have enjoyed many years of success. They have been modified to accommodate the new demands of IPv6, and they will probably successfully support this evolution of the Internet for several years. However, as the IPv6 Internet continues to expand and new features are developed, it is likely that the world will outgrow these legacy protocols. It is also likely that entirely new routing protocols will be developed specifically for IPv6. In the mean time, it is critical that equipment manufacturers, network architects and even end users fully recognize the limits associated with the current protocols and devices. In the past, users have tested the basic IPv6 functionality. Now is the time to take the next step and test the routing protocols of tomorrow's Internet.

Ten Reasons to Advocate Accelerated Adoption of IPv6

If you indicate expertise or even interest in IPv6, you will sooner or latter be asked to give a PowerPoint presentation and why your colleagues should care. You might also want to be pro-active, and offer to give talks on how IPv6 will potentially impact and enhance your specific industry. As we move towards the US IPv6 Summit 2004 we see new presenters coming to into prominence who are focused on new and novel applications, services, network design, systems, and training, especially related to the Dept. of Defense IPv6 Transition.
In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams posits that we go through three stages: Survival (How do we eat?), Inquiry (Why do we eat?), and Sophistication (Where do we eat?). In the IPv6 realm, we seem to be beginning the shift from the first to the second stages, from "How do we connect everyone through the Internet, including all the cars, mobile phones, and billions of other devices?" - the answer is, in part, to deploy IPv6 - to "Why do we need to accelerate adoption of IPv6?"

IPv6 Transition Strategies

Next Generation IP or IPv6 is a technology which is gaining a lot of momentum. This proposes a major change in the basic network infrastructure of the internet and is poised to have far-reaching effects due to the ubiquity of the internet today. In this paper, basic issues on the transition from the current IPv4 networks towards IPv6 are addressed giving a brief overview of how the transition can happen and an introduction to the relevant technical issues in this area.