Towards global deployment of IPv6
Over the past years numerous national research networks and academic network backbone providers have deployed Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in production. In dual-stack networks, native IPv6 connectivity was made available between diverse points on the Internet extending from North America to Europe and South East Asia. In Europe specifically, the GÉANT network has offered a production IPv6 unicast service since 2003. Nevertheless, the challenge ahead remained to push IPv6 deployment into universities and end sites in academic networks. Efforts in this direction have been accelerated by the results of the IST-funded research project 6NET. The ultimate aim of the 6NET project was to establish a production IPv6 network within the academic community with links to existing IPv6 networks. Within a university network, services should not only be deployed to support teaching and research activities, but more importantly an ideal seeding ground for innovation should be offered. In the University of Southampton, a dual stack IPv6 environment was deployed and the introduction of IPv6-only devices into the network was enabled. The IPv6 deployment was not straightforward as besides the traditional IP infrastructure (mail, Domain Name System, etc) used, advantage was taken of new IPv6 features (Source-specific Multicast, Mobile IPv6, etc.). Given there was not an available network infrastructure for IPv6 routing, 802.1q VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) support was required to distribute IPv6 connectivity where hosts chose to select it. To enable parallel interoperation with legacy nodes, dual-stack networking was used, namely IPv4 to communicate with IPv4 nodes and IPv6 to communicate with IPv6 nodes. The IPv6 deployment experience gained within the 6NET project was used to produce international 'cookbooks', targeting network administrators. These include reference books on routing, migrating backbone and campus networks to IPv6, as well as on network management, which are available on the 6NET project website.