Although adoption rates for IP V6 are slower in the United States than in Japan and other parts of the world, the U.S. government has mandated adoption of the next-generation IP protocol, with plans to transition to it by 2008.
To accommodate early adopters—including government, universities, service providers and developing countries with limited IP Version 4 address space—the San Jose, Calif., networking company is adding new hardware components to enable IP V6 traffic to travel at wire speed in its BigIron MG8 and NetIron 40G network switches.
"The U.S. owns 70 percent of IP V4 address space, but it doesnt represent 70 percent of the worlds population," said Bob Schiff, director of marketing at Foundry Networks Inc. "The speed at which mobile communication networks are building out, and the growing populations of countries like China, are [fueling interest] in migrating to IP V6 to address the address shortage."
New modules for Foundrys high-capacity network switches provide wire-speed switching and routing for both IP V4 and IP V6 operating at 1 G-bit Ethernet and 10 G-bit Ethernet rates.
IP V6 also integrates IPSec authentication and confidentiality, which Foundry officials say will help to accelerate adoption—thanks to the increasing security threats from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and viruses.
"With so much attention on the security side being paid, and vendors making products V6-capable, we expect that early to mid-next year, some enteprise customers will talk seriously about migration," Schiff said. "They will expect and require V6-capable products."
The new modules add more memory to process IP V6 packets, which feature 128-bit addressing versus IP V4s 32-bit addressing. Foundry has repriced its modules for those switches so that the IP V6-capable modules cost only 5 percent more.
BigIron MG8 modules supporting both IP V4 and IP V6 are available now and start at $34,995 for a two-port, 10 G-bit Ethernet fiber module. A new four-port, 10 G-bit Ethernet fiber module and 40-port, 1 G-bit Ethernet fiber module are $49,995 each.
NetIron 40G modules supporting IP V6 are also available now and start at $38,495 for a two-port, 10 G-bit Ethernet fiber module.
Foundry will demonstrate its new IP V6 wire-speed connectivity next week at the NetWorld+Interop conference and exhibition in Las Vegas on its BigIron MG8, using 32 10 G-bit Ethernet ports. "We believe it will be the fastest demo of its kind for IP V6," Schiff said.