Wireless IPv6 Tested  

Government Computer News reports that organizers of the Internet Engineering Task Force’s 71st meeting, last week in Philadelphia, temporarily pulled the plug on all Internet access at the event. The organizers then offered only wireless Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6 - Wikipedia) for a few hours.

The IETF wanted to demonstrate to the attendees, as well as the rest of the world, that accessing the Internet only by IPv6 was possible.

Throughout the week, the IETF blanketed the working group meeting rooms with WiFi, then switched it over to IPv6 for a few hours. The idea behind the temporary switchover was to see what problems would come up, said project coordinator Leslie Daigle, who is the chief Internet technology officer for the Internet Society.

ArsTechnica reports that network traffic plummeted from some 30Mbps to around 3Mbps as the meeting attendees, who had IPv6 enabled, could now only get IPv6-reachable destinations on the Internet. This search page by Google, for example, only accepts IPv6 connections.

The Office of Management and Budget has mandated that government agencies must have their network backbones IPv6 ready by the end of June (pdf).

California’s MetroNet6, for example, plans to support both wireless and broadband technology so either can be used interchangably. MetroNet6 would support the ability for a command center to be established in an Ad Hoc manner that could communicate with a National Homeland Security Office (using wireless or broadband communications), as well as the National Guard or other U.S. Agencies.

About half of the IETF audience felt that preparing for IPv6 was relatively painless, even if they did encounter a few glitches. During the test, the organizers cut off the IPv4 access and provided IPv6-only access through a 100 Gbps IPv6 backbone.

While users of Microsoft Windows Vista and Linux were ready for IPv6 access, those with Windows XP experienced problems. While XP supported IPv6, its Domain Name Service client could not work with the protocol. Someone came up with the idea to download a copy of BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain), so domain names could be looked up locally. This required a last-minute patch to the software, which BIND developer Mark Andrews contributed just an hour before the switchover.

While there were many Apple laptop users in the audience, another problem came up with Macintosh OS X, which could not do Dynamic Host Control Protocol under version 6 (DHCP). DHCP is protocol for assigning out numbers on a network. The organizers set up a site that offered instructions on how to set up their computers for IPv6 communications.

Morgan Sackett, VP of Engineering of VeriLAN Event Services, which provided the wireless network, noted that IPv6, with the copious amount of addresses space, should eliminate the need for DHCP altogether.

Comcast provided a 100Gbps connection while VeriLAN provided a 10Gbps backup and a 100Mbps backup for the backup for the IETF meeting last week.

[get this widget]

AddThis Social Bookmark Button