May 2006 Newsletter
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Intro
 

Remember to clear your calendars for the rapidly approaching next Summit, the Federal IPv6 Summit in Reston, VA, from 17-19 May. The theme for this conference is Benefits, Innovations and Solutions, and we guarantee that you'll get generous portions of each of these. To make it as easy as possible for you to register, we have done two things: A) We extended the very low Early Bird Prices all the way to the event, making this the biggest bang for the buck of any major conference around; and, B) Provided this handy and attractive button so you don't have to search through your emails or desktop to find registration forms:
You'll hear an outstanding line-up of government and Industry IT leaders talk about what benefits IPv6 can bring to many of the major problems that confront us as a Nation — including emergency response after a 9/11 or Katrina-level emergency, border security and identification related to immigration reform, and better conservation and exploration of energy. We will hear about how a citywide IPv6 network was planned and acquired for the first city in the US to be both totally wireless and native IPv6 enabled - and what this bodes for many other American "IPv6 cities" to come. Visit www.coalitionsummit.com for further details on our speakers and directions to the Reston Hyatt Hotel, and please come up to me and introduce yourself as a 6Sense reader during the conference (you'll make my day!). See you there!
This month's 6Sense has a great article by Tom Kreidler, VP of Juniper Federal Systems, on Mastering the IPv6 Transition. The many nuggets of wisdom in this article come from dozens of organizations that have already transitioned to IPv6, and form a body of knowledge that could save you tons of time and money — and that is not available in any textbook. We also have an Executive Summary of Volume 2 of The IPv6 Best Practices World Report Series, by Juniper and v6 Transition, which addresses issues such as "What does 'IPv6 Capable' really mean — and who decides?" The full report will be available at the upcoming Federal IP6 Summit. Bill Kine of Spirent Communications examines the benefits of IPv6 as many people think they are — and as they really are, in IPv6 Performance: Myths, Rumors and Facts. Lawrence Hughes, the Chairman and CTO of InfoWeapons, talks in a simple and illustrative style about how we can hook up to IPv6 in our homes tonight, in Experience IPv6 Today. Foundry Networks explores how we can build networks that can support both IPv6 and IPv4 — and reminds us that we should plan on having to do this for the long term — in Enterprise & Services Provider Solutions for Merged IPv4/IPv6 Network Services. Alex Ramia, VP of coalitionsummit.com, compares the culture and quality of phone networks with those of the existing Internet, and finds that many consumers are getting short-changed with IPv4 services, in Do You Get What You Pay For From Your ISP? Under upcoming events, we have the European Union holding an Expert Conference on IPv6 in June, in Vienna, entitled Convergence: New Opportunities for Accelerating the IPv6 Momentum.

IPv6 Performance Myths, Rumors and Facts
 

There are many valid reasons to upgrade to IPv6. These include auto-configuration, the vastly expanded address space, improved security and simplified support for mobility. Another frequently mentioned benefit of IPv6 is the performance. In fact, many people claim that "IPv6 will be faster than IPv4." While a very clear case can be made for the benefits associated with the larger address space, the performance improvements are not so obvious. In fact, this an extremely imprecise issue – it is not even certain that a network's performance will necessarily improve once IPv6 is enabled. Documented below are some facts that will both confirm and refute various aspects of the myths and rumors regarding IPv6 performance.
The Good News:
IPv6 does provide some facilities that definitely streamline communications processes. To start with, the vast majority of all IPv6 packet headers are set to a fixed length of exactly 40 bytes. (Of course there are some exceptions to this rule, but this should be the case for 99% of the packets.) The fact that the headers have a consistent fixed length, as opposed to the variable sizes of IPv4 headers, greatly simplifies packet processing and forwarding. This also allows hardware vendors to implement straightforward silicon-based routing and switching algorithms that read the first 40 bytes of a packet and then make a forwarding decision

The IPv6 Best Practices World Report Series, Volume 2
 

IPv6 Capable – A Guide for Federal Agencies: Understanding IPv6 Requirements and Technology to Enable the Next Generation Internet
The Internet has developed into the primary enabler for interoperable communications across the world and is quickly becoming a common foundation for convergence of multiple technologies critical to our economy and government. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is being deployed to replace the Internet's current protocol, IPv4, and will continue the evolution towards a ubiquitous Next Generation Internet infrastructure for all forms and users of communications. Federal agencies must develop a core understanding of the requirements and the technologies built into the Next Generation Internet and establish their definition of IPv6 Capable. This report, developed specifically for federal agencies transitioning to IPv6, provides valuable insights from industry experts on:
the history of the Internet and why IPv6 is a necessary evolution in developing the Next Generation Internet
the benefits of the Next Generation Internet and the fundamental technology differences between IPv4 and IPv6
how to define IPv6 Capable to meet your specific agency's requirements and remain interoperable, and
steps to take an active role in shaping the future of IPv6 and the Next Generation Internet to meet your federal agency's requirements.

Experience IPv6 Today
 

Many people hear about IPv6 and think it is "future technology" – interesting, even fascinating and important, but not something they could actually get their hands on any time soon – maybe next year or at best in a few months. The reality is you can experience it today, on your existing computer (assuming you have an IPv4 Internet connection already). This is done with the miracle of "tunneling."
In networking, a tunnel is a transition mechanism, of use primarily while we are transitioning from an IPv4-only world to a Dual Stack (IPv4 and IPv6) world. There are many kinds of tunnels, but the one we are talking about here is "IPv6 tunneled through IPv4." The basic idea is that a "tunnel provider" will take packets from an upstream IPv6 service provider, and embed those packets (IPv6 headers and all) as the data part of good old IPv4 packets, then send them along to you over IPv4 (and vice versa). Your computer needs some special software (a "tunnel client") that can unpack those IPv6 packets and either use them directly, or even route them onto your local network. That client can also take IPv6 packets from your node, pack them into the data part of IPv4 packets, and send them to the tunnel provider, which routes them to the outside world.

Enterprise & Service Provider Solutions for Merged IPv4/IPv6 Network Services
 

As service providers and enterprises add IPv6 applications to their networks, it is imperative that the networks be designed and built to efficiently support the simultaneous use of both IPv4 and IPv6. To support this, Foundry Networks has developed a set of dual protocol networking solutions that have been designed with embedded support for the high-speed switching and routing of IPv4 and IPv6 traffic, as well as the IPv6 transition mechanisms that have become popular in the industry. In addition, two pieces that are frequently overlooked in the design of dual-protocol networks, security and management have been embedded in Foundry's IPv6 networking solutions. The first is a set of extensions to provide IPv6 aware VLANs and access control lists. The second is a high-speed implementation of the sFlow RFC. This article discusses the features necessary to provide highly functional, dual-protocol networks that provide instrumentation for network-wide visibility and extended support for security.
Dual-Protocol Network Transition Methodologies
Many of the early discussions on IPv6 focused on the benefits versus IPv4, and, recently, on the applications that will drive the adoption of IPv6. But events have shifted the discussion as the DoD and other worldwide governmental agencies have made public statements not only endorsing IPv6, but mandating that equipment be IPv6 ready. Because of these events, and market forces (especially in Asia), it is now clear that IPv6 will become the dominant protocol over time. The question is how do we build and instrument networks to effectively allow for the support of both IPv4 and IPv6 applications and infrastructure when we know that IPv4 will still be around for some time.

Mastering the IPv6 Transition
 

Change is often difficult, and transitioning your IPv4 network to IPv6 may be the most challenging project ever undertaken by your networking staff. The primary issue facing many CIOs and CTOs is whether or not the transition should even happen. After all, if an IPv4 network is working fine and there does not seem to be a rush by other organizations to migrate, then why change? It may seem easy to stay put with a working IPv4 network and not force a change — but, on the other hand, can you risk being behind in planning if your competitors start a mass movement toward IPv6 or your federal agency is required to implement IPv6 in a relatively short timeframe?
Fortunately the physical infrastructure the wires, connectors, cabinets and racks — are identical for both networking standards. A transition to IPv6 does not mean that you have to remove expensive fiber optic or twisted-pair cables, engineer new equipment storage rooms, or install new wall plates and jacks. At the application level, IPv6 is transparent to the human-machine interface, meaning that your employees and customers will continue to use their familiar applications as before.

Federal Computer Week:Your Marketing Partner for Government Technology
 

Federal Computer Week is the leading media brand for the government information technology market. Our print, online, event, custom media and research products address the business value of technology in government—integrating coverage of government, business and technology issues to help government IT decision-makers achieve results and meet agency missions. Federal Computer Week's integrated media platform serves the information needs of members of the entire government IT buying team—agency executives, program managers, IT managers and systems integrators—across all segments of federal, state and local government. That makes Federal Computer Week the smartest marketing partner for today's government technology marketers.

v6 Transition Now Offers IPv6 Transition Services
 

IPv6 Summit, Inc., organizers of the US IPv6 Summits for the last three years and publishers of 6Sense, now offers a wide range of training, consulting and implementation support services to make the transition to IPv6 a reality for your organization. We have assembled a team of IPv6 experts and partners into v6 Transition, providing a complete set of solutions to your meet your IPv6 transition planning and implementation requirements.

EU Expert Conference on IPv6 Upcoming this June in Vienna
 

The European Commission is holding an EU Expert Conference on IPv6 in Vienna, on 1-2 June, 2006, entitled Convergence: New Opportunities for Accelerating the IPv6 Momentum. The conference covers the convergence process between fixed and mobile platforms, and between data, voice and video via the Internet. Individual tracks at the conference will elucidate IPv6 convergence possibilities in transportation, the media, the consumer/device market, and telecom "Triple Play" applications.