Although the main reason for IPv6 has been to increase the available address space, other new features have been added to the IPv6 specifi cation to make the protocol more appropriate for 21st century applications such as mobile, video and voice.
Bigger Address Space
The enlargement of the available address space will ease the pressure on the rapidly depleting IPv4 address pool and will slowly eliminate the need for NAT/DHCP devices to save and conserve addresses. As such IPv6 will open up the true potential of the Internet; any-to-any communication between any enabled devices.
Faster Routing and Network Auto-Configuration
Although the IPv6 address fields are four times the size of their IPv4 equivalents, the IPv6 header is only twice the size of the IPv4 header. This has been achieved by removing redundant or unused fields and moving less used features to optional extension fields. The result is that the IPv6 is much simpler to process and reduces the time taken to process IP headers in hosts and intermediate routers.
End-to-end Addressing and Security
The preponderance of NAT has broken one of the guardian principles of IP: that of secure end-to-end communication. This is due to the fact that NAT cannot handle encrypted messages with embedded address or port identifiers. In IPv4, the only way to implement secure communications such as IPsec-based VPNs has been to terminate the IPSec tunnels at a firewall and de-encrypt the packet before passing it in the clear to the host over the local network. IPv6 fixes this problem by using built-in IPsec to encrypt and secure packets on the host rather than at a fi rewall.
More Support for Mobile Devices
As more 3G mobile networks are deployed, the opportunities to use mobile phones and PDAs as true data communication devices will increase. IPv6 includes built-in features to allow IP addresses to change as a mobile user moves between base stations which can reconfi gure and reassign IP addresses.
Improved Multicast and Streaming
In IPv4, multicast was simulated by broadcasting to all devices in the neighborhood. This worked well on the LAN but could be a nightmare if implemented over a WAN. IPv6 provides multiple groups of multicast addresses so that multicast streams can be pinpointed to the required hosts and only those hosts.
The maximum size of an IPv4 packet is limited to 64 KBytes due to the 16 bit length field in the header. With IPv6, this estriction has been removed providing the associated TCP implementations can support it. This results in more efficient transmission of large data streams such as audio and video.
What Applications will Benefit from IPv6?
Although all applications will ultimately benefi t from the release of pressure on the address space and the more efficient processing of IP packet headers, there are three application areas which in particular will benefit from IPv6 deployment.
As more and more mobile devices become data capable, more demand will be placed on the IP address pool. It is estimated that mobile phones and PDAs will place the largest demand for new IP addresses. Each mobile device also requires multiple addresses as they move between cells and base stations. IPv6 provides signifi can't improvements over
IPv4 for managing the allocation of mobile addresses for these types of devices.
IPv6 provides true end-to-end secure communication and will enable new security mechanisms to prevent spoofing, interception and tampering with IP packet data.
Improved multicast methods mean that applications such as video and audio streaming, online gaming and Internet telephony will expand and prosper with IPv6. In particular, the end-to-end security capability in IPv6 will help boost the deployment of Voice over IP (VoIP) applications.
SMC's IPv6-Ready Gigabit Switch Solutions
SMC's Ethernet switches provide a complete off-the-shelf solution including chassis systems, stackable units, fixed and modular configurations for 10/100/1000 Mbps and 10 Gbps Ethernet over copper or fiber. They include a dual stack IPv4/IPv6 implementation so that they can be managed in both an IPv4 and IPv6 environment.
SMC Networks' TigerStack™ II range of stackable Gigabit Ethernet switches provide full support for:
• 10/100/1000 Mbps connections using copper or fiber interfaces plus two optional 10 Gbps connections using XFP ransceivers
• IPv6 Management support to enhance the standard IPv4 management interfaces.
• Full VLAN with GVRP and IEEE 802.1s/v support
• Multilink trunking with LACP
• QoS support including eight levels of priority, with weighted fair queuing and L2/3/4 IP precedence
• Broadcast fi ltering, traffi c prioritization and rate limiting
• Robust security features such as: ACLs, IEEE 802.1x, and SSH, SSL/HTTPS for secure management
IPv4 / IPv6 Dual Stack Management
The TigerStacks™ II SMC8824M and SMC8848M are feature-rich stackable IPv4/IPv6 managed switches with 24 or 48 autosensing 10/100/1000BASE-T ports plus two optional 10G uplinks. These gigabit workgroup aggregator switches are designed to handle high bandwidth applications and capable of reaching up to 176Gbps with a non-blocking single chip switching architecture.
SMC's XFP 10G transceivers can be used with any TigerSwitch™ that is equipped with XFP transceiver slots to allow simple 10G fiber-optics network expansion. Chose from XFP transceivers for short range (10GBASE-SR, 300m), long range (10GBASE-LR, 10km) to extended range (10GBASE-ER, 40km).
SMC Networks' Small Form Pluggable (SFP) transceivers can be plugged into any TigerSwitch™ with SFP slots to allowsimple Gigabit fi ber-optics network expansion. From short range SMC1GSFP-SX (MMF, up to 550m) to the long reaching SMC1GSFP-LX (SMF, 70km and more), SMC Networks has the best SFP solution for you.