Next Net moves forward

The next generation of the Internet, known as Internet Protocol version 6, took another big step toward commercialization, as its second phase of testing in North America wrapped up last week. Moonv6, the network used in the testing, is an IPv6 backbone built by the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (IOL), the North American IPv6 Task Force, Internet2, the U.S. Department of Defense and more than 30 networking vendors, testing vendors and service providers. The virtual IPv6 backbone stretches from New Hampshire to California and will be permanent, so that equipment makers, software vendors, service providers and anyone else who would like to test IPv6 interoperability in a live network can do so.

For two weeks in March, the North American IPv6 Task Force, the Defense Information Systems Agency's Joint Interoperability Testing Command and others tested the network for quality of service, security, application handling, networking protocols and end-to-end domain name server functionality on all major operating systems. IPv6 expands the pool of unique addresses available for connecting PCs and other devices in the Internet. It is widely regarded as a necessary successor to the current system for Internet addressing, IPv4, which many people say does not provide enough space in its address field to support the millions of devices that will likely be added to the Internet in the next several years

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