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Cisco Speaks at FOSE on IPv6 Enterprise Architecture Transition

“The world is flattening,” says Dave Rubal at the FOSE Conference and Exhibition this week in Washington, DC. “The race for IT dominance is on, and it is coming west.”

Mr. Rubal, Cisco’s Worldwide Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) Task Force Lead, spoke of the tremendous race in IT dominance that is occurring, stating that the “mainstay technologies at the Beijing Olympics will be IPv6-powered.” IPv6 is in line to replace version 4, but Rubal hinted that China and other Far East countries may be adopting the new version faster than the United States.

IPv6 is often met with skepticism. Many network administrators are concerned about the cost and effort to migrate and, during the transition, running a “dual-stack network” where IPv4 and IPv6 operate simultaneously. Rubal reminded the audience that in the early 90’s, networks, PCs and servers often ran multiple protocols such as Novell’s Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX), Apple’s AppleTalk and IP.

Rubal views IPv6 as a “transformational technology”, along with data virtualization, mobility and unified communications. IPv6 represents a “horizontal tie across the network” and touches everything from user devices and applications to switches, routers, phones and other network devices.

Mr. Rubal went on to discuss the “evolution happening around us” and the “rapid maturity of sensor technology” that will take advantage of the IPv6 protocol. IPv6 will provide sensor networks and related applications with enough addresses to scale indefinitely while providing other critical features such as auto-configuration and built-in security.

The battlefield may be another major area where IPv6 is adopted. Rubal spoke of “rapidly changing military requirements” and how “soldiers become networks” through sensor technology. For example, troops on the ground can be networked together along with overhead warplanes surveying the battlefield, providing instant access to the information obtained by each participant in the ad-hoc network.

Rubal discussed some of the challenges that IPv6 faces, stating that “we have yet to see the point where applications are developed in (Microsoft) Vista and require exclusive support on the IPv6 side.”

By Dan Campbell, President, Millennia Systems, Inc.

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