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Optical/IP

IPv6 Routers Get Tested

A recent test of routers designed to handle Internet Protocol (IP) version 6, an improved version of the protocol used for Internet traffic, highlights progress and the need for further development.

Results of the test, which was conducted by BII Group, a Beijing-based institute that's led the charge on rolling out a commercial IPv6 network in China, are presented and summarized in a new Light Reading report (see IPv6 Router Test).

By and large, the IPv6 routers in the test conform with key standards, they interoperate with each other, and they deliver good performance in most circumstances. But there's clearly room for improvement.

In his report, Hua Ning, BII's CTO, studiously avoids criticizing vendors or their equipment and says the tests weren't intended as a performance comparison anyhow. All the same, the results invite such comparisons, which are undertaken in Light Reading's report, culled from Ning's results.

Conducted with equipment from Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), the test included the M20 from Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), as well as the following routers from Japanese vendors that have focused on enhancing their wares to deliver high performance when handling IPv6 traffic: By demonstrating the availability of high performance equipment, the test adds to the momentum building behind IPv6. And of course, that raises a question: Why didn't Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) participate in this test? A Cisco spokeswoman told Light Reading today (Feb. 26) that "the request to support the Beijing Internet Institute test came in too late for Cisco China to pull together the equipment and prepare the test bed, so we had to decline."

The test also points to the need for further development work among router vendors. In particular, the maximum number of routing table entries handled by the Japanese equipment is very low. And some of the routers also appear to struggle when handling floods of small packets.

It could be argued that vendors have got plenty of time to address these points. The amount of IPv6 traffic at Internet exchange points is still very low. Still, service providers need to think ahead when they're buying core routers – and IPv6 traffic volumes could explode in the coming years, as wireless access to the Internet takes hold. This is particularly true in the Asia/Pacific region, where the shortage of IPv4 addresses is most acute.

The full report is here: IPv6 Router Test.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Want a deeper understanding of the issues involved in integrating IP and optical technology? Check out the first module of Light Reading University's course on the topic. Click on this link to check it out for free!

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