Researchers test IPv6 capabilities on Internet 2

Researchers test IPv6 capabilities on Internet 2

Abilene, the Internet 2 research backbone supported by a consortium of American universities, is now using IPv6, the next-generation Internet Protocol.

Abilene is a project of the University Corp. for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) in partnership with Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., Northern Telecom Inc.'s Nortel Networks and Qwest Communications Inc. of Denver. Indiana University manages the network operations.

The Abilene backbone has 2.4-Gbps bandwidth. It links more than 100 universities and eventually will boast 8,000 miles of backbone fiber cable plus 5,000 miles of access circuits.

Most of the current Internet uses IPv4, and deployment of IPv6 has been slow. But many experts see the move to the new version as necessary to have a larger IP address space for networking the millions of new mobile devices and network appliances. IPv6 also has better security and quality of service provisions than IPv4.

Abilene serves as a large-scale test bed for learning the capabilities, as well as the operational barriers of IPv6. UCAID has set up four IPv6 nodes, which provide network address translation between Version 6 and Version 4 IP addresses. It has cooperation from several other research and education networks including the Energy Department's ESnet and Canada's CAnet3.

The first Internet 2 GigaPoP'or regional research network'to take advantage of Abilene's IPv6 service is the Great Plains Network, which serves Internet 2 users in Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

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