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IP protocols/software

Hurricane Electric Spins Different IPv6 View

While other service providers are warning their enterprise customers to get ready for IPv6, Hurricane Electric , global provider of wholesale and large enterprise transport services, says some of those providers need to clean up their own act first. (See IPv6 Prep Warnings Get More Urgent.)

As a provider of IPv6 services for nine years now, Hurricane Electric is providing services to many businesses -- many big players -- that can't get that connectivity from their current telecom transport providers, says Martin Levy, director of IPv6 strategy at Hurricane Electric. He admits to chuckling at some of the recent reports from big players advocating preparation for the IPv6 transition, because his company has been doing that for years. (See Is IPv6 Finally on the Verge?)

"I've been quoted as putting a lot of effort into encouraging my competitors to get their act together," Levy says. "Over a year ago, I said, 'Enough is enough -- I'm not going to sit here and try to get my competitors' business; I'm just going to go out and get the business.'"

As a result of its IPv6 advocacy over the past nine years, Hurricane Electric today claims to have connected more networks in IPv6 globally than any other backbone by more than a factor of two, and is providing an IPv6 tunnel broker service to reach customers who can't get IPv6 connectivity. That service creates tunnels through IPv4 networks to reach Hurricane Electric's backbone, which includes two Points of Presence in Asia, 15 in the US, and six in Europe.

"We took IPv6 very seriously very early in the game, and we have been offering IPv6 for nine years and have had it as a core product offering for five to six years," Levy says.

Levy says his firm sees "quite a lot of interest" among his customers, which include "large global entities, large regional cable players, or large hosting companies."

Levy is concerned, however, that as IPv4 numbers dwindle, there may be a tendency to hoard them, or for some players to try to acquire numbers faster, to protect their ability to grow their broadband offerings.

"Human nature is going to kick in," Levy says. "And it says there is going to have to be a certain amount of acceleration in the amount of available IP that the industry has access to and people are going to start to hoard or to look at an accelerated ways of acquiring V4 space, just in case there isn't any more space available in the future and they need it."

Hurricane Electric offers a timer on IPv4 number exhaust on its Website -- http://www.ipv6.he.net/ -- that as of today says there are 259 days left before IPv4 numbers are exhausted. If Levy's predictions about hoarding are accurate, however, IPv4 number exhaust "will hit us even quicker than the timers state," he says.

Levy credits NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) with being on top of the IPv6 game, but says many other companies talk a better game than they actually play.

"To be polite, at least they are talking about it now," Levy says. "If you believe a rising tide lifts all boats, and I do believe in that theory, they are doing everybody a world of good by putting that out there."

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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