1.6. IPv6 Around the World
The oldest IPv6 network is the 6Bone (http://www.6bone.net). It was started in 1996, and by 2004 it connected more than 1,000 hosts in more than 50 countries across the world. Originally, it was used as a test network for the IETF working groups. Over time it became an international project in which everybody was welcome to participate. The address allocation had not been standardized at that time, so the 6Bone received the special prefix 3FFE. Today, the IPv6 address allocation is specified and open for registration, and the 6Bone will gradually be moved to the official IPv6 address space by mid-2006. Their web site is still accessible for historical and statistical reasons. The 6Bone proved that IPv6 is stable and can be used globally. It was also used to get experience with routing and network management processes, as well as to test transition mechanisms and IPv6 applications and services.
If we look at the global deployment of IPv6, the scenarios are different on each continent. The International IPv6 Forum (http://www.ipv6forum.com) coordinates the worldwide activities. The International Task Force (http://www.ipv6tf.org) coordinates the regional Task Forces all over the world. There is a North American IPv6 Task Force (http://www.nav6tf.org), a European Task Force (http://www.eu.ipv6tf.org), and different Task Forces in Asia and other parts of the world. They can all be found from the main Task Force Site. The regional Task Forces coordinate the activities in their regions. In Europe, for example, there is a Task Force in almost every country.
In Asia, IPv6 is already a reality. The high population and accelerated Internet growth rate, combined with the limited IPv4 address space, does not leave any other choices.
Japan was one of the first countries to take the lead. In March 2001, they published the "e-Japan Priority Policy Program," announcing that they would build the largest IPv6 network. The Japanese Task Force can be found at http://www.v6pc.jp/en/index.phtml.
In Japan there is a showroom where vendors demo their IPv6-capable devices. Sony, for instance, announced that in the near future, all Sony devices will include IPv6 support. To give you an idea of the status of IPv6 in Japan, here are some things you can see in this showroom:
In China, the China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) project was started in 2001. In the first half of 2006, the deployment of IPv6 in the backbone should be completed in 300 campus networks, including 100 universities, 100 institutes, and 100 enterprises. China's five major telecommunication operators play a key role in this project. They estimate that they will complete the construction of all the backbone and Shanghai NAPs in the first quarter of 2006, and complete the interlink of foreign IPv6 Internet before mid-2006. IPv6 Mobility was built into the CNGI from the beginning. The CNGI production deployment and application trials in 2005 consist of a total of 61 projects undertaken by over 100 of China's top technology companies and universities; these trials have been approved and are estimated to be complete before the end of 2006. Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) will be deployed gradually in each city, with IPv6 playing an important part in this deployment. IPv6 will also be used in other industries, such as the military, meteorology, seismology, intelligence architecture, and digital home networking. Many of the giant industry companies in China began to focus on IPv6, such as Lenovo (IBM PCs) and Konka. Lenovo has launched its Intelligent Grouping and Resource Sharing (IGRS) technology to support IPv6.
Many other countries in Asia are active as well. Countries such as India, Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan each have their own Task Force, and in most of these countries, IPv6 has strong governmental support.
In Europe, the European Commission has taken the lead and supported the introduction of IPv6 since 2000. The European Commission believes that IPv6 is essential for the competitiveness of their economic area. The European Task Force (http://www.eu.ipv6tf.org) coordinates the activities in Europe.
Telia Sweden was one of the first ISPs to offer commercial IPv6 services. In 2001, Telia already offered six POPs (Points of Presence) in different locations in Europe. Most ISPs currently do not offer IPv6 services commercially, but in the background, many of them have prepared the introduction and will be able to react quickly to growing demand on the market. The numbers of IPv6 Internet backbones and Internet Exchange Points (IEX) are growing. For instance, NTT Communications offers commercial IPv6 services around the globe. They started in 2001 in Japan; since February 2003, they have offered their services in Europe; and since June 2003, in the United States and in some Asian countries. NTT Communication runs two network operation centers around the clock, seven days a week, and the company has more than four years of IPv6 network management experience. You'll find a description of their deployment in Chapter 10.
In Europe, there are two major research projects partially funded by the European Commission: the 6net project (http://www.6net.org) and Euro6IX (http://www.euro6ix.org). 6net was a three-year European project created to test whether IPv6 could cope with the demands of today's global Internet. For this purpose, an IPv6 network connecting 16 countries was created and used as a platform for interoperability and integration tests. The three years have passed, and the 6net project ended in 2005. The Internet Society Technologies (IST) initialized the Euro6IX project. Its goal is to support a rapid introduction of IPv6 in Europe. You can find details on both projects and tons of interesting research materials on their respective web sites.
The IPv6 address space and Mobility support offer a good basis for further deployment of Voice over IP (VoIP). Mobile IPv6 removes some limitations with the IPv4 implementations of Mobility and makes it much more suitable for global use. The German company Telekom stated in early 2004 that they believe that by the year 2020, global telephone communication will be entirely IP-based. Many of the telecom providers are preparing for this challenge in the background. There are a number of VoIP implementations using IPv6.
Car vendors will use IP as well. Renault, for instance, has a prototype of an IPv6-networked car that they co-developed with Cisco. It has a Cisco router built-in with a Mobile IPv6 implementation, so the car has an internal IPv6-based network that can be used for monitoring, control, and maintenance; for accessing weather, traffic, and road condition information; or by passengers to connect through wireless or Bluetooth to surf the Web or watch digital TV with any IPv6-capable device. With the Mobile IPv6 implementation, the Cisco router can switch networks to find the best possible connection depending on its position. The systems and devices connected from inside the car will not lose their connections while the router is switching from one network to another. Other car vendors, such as BMW, DaimlerChrysler, and Audi, are working on similar projects. I heard that the IP car of the future will have a minimum of 20 IP addresses. Go figure.
1.6.3. The United States
Originally it was assumed that the United States would be the last part of the world to adopt IPv6, simply because the address space issue is not that critical. In summer 2003, the situation significantly changed with the U.S. DoD's announcement that it will migrate its network to IPv6 by 2008. Starting in 2003, all IT purchasing done by DoD agencies had to include requirements for IPv6 enablement. Given that the U.S. DoD's IT spending budget is around 30 billion dollars a year (USD), this provides significant motivation for vendors. Many other defense departments and NATO allies all over the globe have followed their example. This decision will accelerate the IPv6 market not only in the United States, but all over the world. Given the extreme diversity of how IP can be applied in the military space, there should be accelerated development of additional services and applications.
In addition to the U.S. DoD, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a presidential office, announced in July 2005 that all Federal agencies must also use IPv6 by 2008. While the DoD budget for IT is impressive, the entire U.S. Federal government is certainly bigger.
The North American IPv6 Task Force can be found at http://www.nav6tf.org. The largest test and research network is Moonv6 (http://www.moonv6.com). Use these two entry points to find the information about activities, tests and results, deployments, and general IPv6 resources.