Firms gain local IPv6 testing

New Zealand firms should soon be testing locally real-time applications over their enterprise networks using version 6 of the IP standard rather than having to go through US internet gateways.

New Zealand firms should soon be testing locally real-time applications over their enterprise networks using version 6 of the IP standard rather than having to go through US internet gateways.

InternetNZ is funding the construction and operation of a “public access” IPv4/IPv6 testbed with Wellington metropolitan network operator CityLink for an initial six-month period. The testbed, operating from this month, comprises two IPv4/IPv6 tunnel gateways that connect with the already existing IPv6 peering network at Auckland’s APE6 and Wellington’s WIX6 telecomms exchanges, and a 1Mbit/s IPv6 data bridge between the two centres.

While businesses directly connected to the APE6 and WIX peering exchanges can already exchange native IPv6 traffic, there is no local gateway that enables IPv4-using New Zealand ISP customers to access and tunnel IPv6 traffic. If these users want to test IPv6 they must tunnel and return via the US using one of a number of overseas IPv6 public access gateways.

IPv6 promises a greatly increased number of IP addresses for networked devices as well as improved security and better management of internet traffic. Ping times can currently exceed several thousand milliseconds for New Zealand local/national traffic. The testbed will reduce latency for New Zealand IPv6 traffic to between 3ms and 30ms, says InternetNZ councillor Michael Sutton. Latency-sensitive applications such as remote real-time control telemetry, videoconferencing and distributed processing can be trialled more effectively.

The facility is experimental for non-commercial New Zealand data traffic. Any individual or company will be able to establish and test an IPv6 network by using free software to host a tunnel to the gateway.

Administrators can create IPv6 sub-nets within their own LANs and gain practical experience necessary to implement future IPv6 applications by using the existing IPv4 public network, Sutton says.

“The IPv6 testbed is an example of a collaborative approach to implement future network protocols, providing a practical interoperability test platform from which users will transition to native next-generation commercial network services,” he says.

CityLink will launch this IPv6 testbed at the “Big Geek Program 04” New Zealand Network Operators’ Group conference, which is to be held at Waikato University between January 28 and 30. The conference is sponsored by CityLink, InternetNZ, Waikato University and the university’s WAND network research group.

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