July 2006 Newsletter

I would like to remind everyone to mark your calendars now for the Coalition Summit for IPv6 2006 (www.coalitionsummit.com) to be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from October 3rd - 5th. The event is being produced in cooperation with NATO, and promises to be an enlightening view into the transformation initiatives being taken by US and allied military and homeland defense organizations, IT companies and R&D centers. Featured speakers will include Maj. General Dennis Moran of the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gerard Segarra the Manager of the Telematics Research Unit for Renault/Nissan and Ulf Dahlston, a director the European Commission. In addition, there will be a top notch line-up of military and industry IT leaders talking about what benefits IPv6 can bring to net-centric warfare, joint interoperability and multimedia convergence. You will get an intimate view of the global IPv6 landscape in the US, Europe and Asia, and have the opportunity to meet senior thought leaders, potential customers, and strategic partners. Other upcoming events include our Asia Summit for IPv6 in Manila, being held on November 7th - 8th and our US Summit for IPv6 in Reston, VA, March 26th - 29th. Visit www.coalitionsummit.com for further details and read our featured article in this edition.
This month's 6Sense presents a broad and dynamic range of positions in the IPv6 universe. We begin with a great article by Stan Barber, VP of Engineering Operations of NTT communications on Transitioning a WAN to IPv6. In it, he outlines the principles for taking an existing IPv4 corporate network and integrating IPv6 capabilities into it. He further details both operational and architectural requirements to successfully enhance a network to be both IPv4 and IPv6 enabled. On the global front, we have Chris Harz, VP of Strategic Planning for IPv6 Summit, Inc., giving a breakdown of the recent EU Expert Conference on IPv6 in Vienna, Austria. The event, entitled Convergence: New Opportunities for Accelerating the IPv6 Momentum, covered a wide range of topics, from European IPv6 adoption policies to planned innovations for EuroControl – an organization that manages Air Traffic control in Europe – using VoIP via IPv6 in sectors of air space. Harz's report centers on the business of technology and how Europe and Asia are moving forward to create substantial infrastructure, but are in great need of clear business models and revenue generating applications. Lawrence Hughes, the Chairman and CTO of InfoWeapons, gives us a savvy yet accessible explication of the auto-configuration functionality of IPv6, with an explanation of configuration tools like DHCPv4 and how it can be modified and used in IPv6 networks. Finally, Alan Rosenberg from Global Crossing presents an informative case study illustrating a provider's migration to IPv6 and the benefits of developing v6 capabilities in advance of market demand and applications.
We would also like to invite our 6Sense readers to send us their own articles in areas of IPv6 that interest them, especially IPTV, Sensornets, RFID tracking for SCM (Supply Chain Management) and CRM (Customer Relations Management), Emergency Medical Response, E-Learning, and Situation Assessment for first responders. Please contact newsletter@coalitionsummit.com with any questions. We look forward to your submissions.

IPv6 Auto Configuration

One of the major advantages of IPv6 over IPv4 is its ability to automate configuration of parameters related to network connectivity of client nodes (network enabled devices such as PCs, PDAs, or printers). With IPv4, when you connect a client node to a TCP/IP based network, there is a fairly complex process required to set things such as the IP address, the netmask, the default gateway and the location of DNS servers.
The person configuring these things must have a fairly good understanding of network concepts, including addressing and subnets, in addition to specific details of the network to which the node will be connected. Getting any of this information wrong (say using a subnet mask of when the correct subnet mask is can prevent the connection from working at all, or provide limited or intermittent connectivity. In earlier days, network devices were typically installed within organizations that could afford a network specialist with an adequate working knowledge of the necessary technology. Even so, costs associated with such expert based manual configuration were significant.
Many IPv4 networks use a simple auto configuration tool called DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), or DHCPv4 to be more precise, originally defined in RFC 1531 in October 1993, making it a fairly mature Internet standard. The most recent version of the standard is RFC 2131 (March 1997). There have been many RFCs written to extend DHCPv4 in various ways, and it is very widely implemented and used. DHCPv4 solves many of the problems associated with node configuration, but is highly specific to IPv4 in many ways. There are a number of good books on DHCPv4, which cover all the relevant concepts for UNIX and/or Windows. My personal favorite, which covers both platforms, is "DHCP Handbook (2nd Edition)," Ralph Droms and Ted Lemon, Sams Publishing, October 2002.

Upcoming v6 Summits: Three Important Events

In order to help you plan your calendars somewhat in advance, we thought it might be beneficial to let you know about our three next IPv6 Summits – where and when they are, and what they're about.
The Coalition Summit for IPv6 takes place from 3-5 October in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in cooperation with NATO (which just happens to have its headquarters units almost right next door). A major objective of this event is to bring together top thought leaders and decision makers from NATO, the EU, the US and its allies, and share the status and trends of IPv6 implementation in military, government and business IT organizations in the represented countries.
A second major mission is to identify major IPv6 initiatives that are evolving into substantive applications that will be useful to a wide audience -- and profitable or expedient for telcos, ISPs and other vendors. Several recent international IPv6 conferences have posed this question more bluntly, as "Where are the distinctive apps?" (applications that can't be handled in the short term with v4), or simply, "Show us the money!" Whereas such applications have obvious interest for the civilian community, they also have import for government IT organizations – it is the stated intent of NATO, for instance, to make maximum use of IPv6 COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) applications. That makes it useful to see what those COTS applications are likely to be, in the near future.

Transitioning a WAN to IPv6

As you have read here and elsewhere, companies are beginning to offer IPv6 transition services to help an enterprise determine how to best exploit the capabilities of IPv6. In many cases, this work will outline the steps to take to integrate IPv6 into an existing corporate network running IPv4. NTT Communications is also offering an IPv6 transition service, but our capabilities center on our specific expertise in integrating IPv6 on an existing wide-area network. We do this because that is the locus of our practical experience.
Every day, we are operating one of the world's largest commercial IPv6 networks and we know from actual real-world experience the specific details both architecturally and operationally what it takes to be successful in enhancing an existing network infrastructure to support both IPv6 and IPv4. We have been developing this expertise for more than a decade, and used that to transition our own network worldwide in 2003.
Our process for bringing IPv6 into an existing network centers on the same basic principles that many others are citing in their literature. First, you must be sure you fully understand the network that is operational today. That includes an inventory of the hardware and software that make up the network, but it also includes the current configuration of the hardware and software and the principles used in operating that network. These include change management as well as troubleshooting management. Once there is a thorough understanding of what exists, it is important to use that as a basis for determining what the new network (with IPv6) will be. Here you make decisions about architecture (e.g. dual-stack vs. overlaying IPv6 on the existing network) and any additional operational changes (e.g. monitoring the network via IPv6 instead of IPv4) that are relevant.

Case Study: Global Crossing A Provider's Path for Migrating to IPv6 and Offering it to the End User

In the early 1990s, the IETF recognized that IPv4 was not ideally suited for the demands of the developing Internet. The explosive growth of Internet traffic posed several challenges: There was insufficient address space [aka poor regional distribution] and over 70% of the available addresses were assigned to North America. The packet header structure was too complex in that a higher number of fields required significant router processing. Address space concerns, roaming authentication concerns and the basic lack of protocol-inherent security capabilities all represented challenges resulting from the increasing demand for mobile IP.
Additionally, natural market evolution suggested an impending change in Protocol — more scalable addressing and routing solutions were needed to meet Internet growth demands. Increased Internet structure complexity, due to NATs and gateways, were challenging customers and service providers, alike. The proliferation of fixed and portable IP-enabled devices like laptop PCs, mobile phones, PDAs, consumer appliances, as well as military applications and surveillance equipment, were adding to the complexity.
The thinking of the day was that a sooner transition to IPv6, rather than later, would ensure a new Internet Protocol introduction that was still manageable and capable of sustaining current Internet requirements.

The EU Expert Conference on IPv6 in Vienna, 2006

The recent European Union (EU) Expert Conference on IPv6, titled, Convergence: New Opportunities for Accelerating the IPv6 Momentum, was held in Vienna, at the headquarters of Telekom Austria, one of the stalwart supporters of v6 in Europe. The event was well organized, had some really great speakers, and was an eye opener in more ways than one. The following is a sample of some experiences from the conference.
Ulf Dahlsten, a Director of the European Commission (EC), started the conference with a quick overview, noting that the uptake of IPv6 in Europe has been slower than in other parts of the world (i.e., Asia). He noted that the EC has supported 14 large-scale research projects in the past few years (for over 170 million euros), and that IPv6 at the network level is now a mature technology. Reading between the lines, it would appear that the Commission is satisfied that it has completed its support of the R&D sector for IPv6, and would now like to see the technology proceed beyond primarily academic networks into the European mainstream. One could imply (note the word "accelerating" in the event title) that the EC would like to see this transition speed up somewhat.
Mr. Dahlsten's thoughts were echoed by Rudolf Strohmeier, the Head of the Reding Cabinet of the EC. He noted that the EC had conducted a study of both the drivers (he called them "triggers") and blocking factors affecting v6 in Europe. The three most desirable drivers were: transparency, convergence and mobility (that can be enabled by IPv6). He mentioned that IPv6 would restore E2E (End to End) connectivity, a vital feature of the original Internet. The opportunity of v6 was thus clearly recognized by the IT leaders that were surveyed. However, the study showed that three blocking factors form a chasm that must be crossed first, a vicious circle of: Lack of Demand, Lack of Services and Lack of Applications. These feed on each other, so that no applications results in no demand, which in turn leads to ISPs not providing v6 services, which leads to no applications, et cetera. Mr. Strohmeier added that survey respondents felt that there could be tremendous growth in four to five years, but that only new applications afforded by IPv6 would "make or break" widespread adoption in Europe.