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Alberta Research Network Supports IPv6

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For more information on how you can experiment with IPv6 protocol on NeteraNet, contact Jean Francois Amiot at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (403) 220-2675

(2 September 2004) - With the latest upgrade of the Alberta research network , Netera now fully supports IPv6, the sixth version of the Internet address protocol. In addition to its regular high speed IP network, Netera is peering with the Canadian research network (CA*net4) and international research networks to give Netera's member institutions the opportunity to experiment with the next generation of Internet technology.

IPv6 was designed in the 1990s to fix some of the problems with the standard version 4 IP protocol predominant then and still today. The largest problem arose from the rapid expansion of the Internet. The designers of the Internet addressing scheme did not foresee explosive growth of the number of Internet-connected computers, and by the late 1990s the supply of IP addresses was growing short. The onset of a critical address shortage was delayed through stopgap measures like local address translation, but the demand for a much larger supply of Internet addresses persists and is rapidly becoming more compelling. IPv6 is also emerging as crucial to the spread of the Internet in populous countries like China and India.

In addition to a vast increase in the supply of available addresses, IPv6 has been designed to eliminate a number of the shortcomings of the version 4 IP addressing protocol. It provides enhanced security, auto-configuration, an array of new features for the mobile user, and better support for the real-time delivery of data.

There are three primary benefits driving the adoption of IPv6:

  • The huge IPv6 address space is required to support the extension of Internet connectivity to personal communications devices like cell phones, pagers and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants). Many analysts predict that personal electronics will quickly replace computers as the dominant use of Internet addressing.
  • It works better in peer-to-peer applications than IPv4. Many new and important Internet applications are based on peer-to-peer data distribution, which is replacing the older client-server model.
  • It has internal support for address reconfiguration, which is a requirement in mobile IP applications, and important for domestic Internet services like cable modems and DSL connections.
The conversion to IPv6 is much farther along in Europe and Japan than it is in Canada and the USA because the pressure on the IP address space has been greater in those places where the initial IPv4 address allocations were small.