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Verio strikes early with IPv6 WAN service

Verio is now offering IPv6 WAN service, and while some niche organizations may be eager to make the jump from IPv4, an analyst says Verio's service may be a bit early for the U.S. market. Though IPv6 has the potential to alleviate IP address shortages in Europe and Asia, the need for more addresses isn't as strong in the U.S.

Verio Inc., a subsidiary of Japanese telecom giant Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Corp., on Tuesday announced the availability of its Internet Protocol version six (IPv6) WAN service, the first to be launched in North America.

The service enables businesses to globally transmit both IPv6 and IPv4 traffic. Verio's network runs both types of traffic, and a dual stack of routers then directs the traffic using two routing tables, one for IPv6 and another for IPv4.

"We are ahead of the pack," said Cody Christman, director of product engineering for the Englewood, Colo.-based service provider. "We are taking a leadership role in rolling out IPv6."

While there has been some concern that moving to IPv6 may be too expensive, Christman said that Verio incurred no capital with its move to IPv6. However, he added that the company has been planning to make the leap to the new protocol for some time, so purchasing decisions were made with that strategy in mind.

Verio's IPv6 offering may be a bit early for the U.S. market, said Stan Schatt, research director at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research. The emerging IPv6 supports a greater number of IP addresses than IPv4, making it possible to Internet-enable many more devices. He said there is a need for more IP address in Europe, because of increased cell phone usage, and in Asia, because it has only been allotted a small number of IPv4 addresses. But the need isn't as strong in the United States.

Schatt was critical of the IPv6 Forum, an IPv6 advocacy group, which he said has put forth alarming messages about the scarcity of IP addresses. However, since the group's dire predictions have failed to come true in the U.S., Schatt said, many here are now skeptical of the need for IPv6.

Verio's IPv6 service will appeal to a few niches in the U.S. market. Universities, which are already dabbling in IPv6, and companies with a significant presence in Asia may benefit from Verio's early launch, Schatt said.

For those considering a move to IPv6, there are some hurdles regarding network monitoring and management. For example, Verio has had difficulty finding adequate monitoring and management software for its network.

Though the company was unable to disclose the products it uses for monitoring and managing its network, Christman said, the company had to add code to its existing management software in order for it to work with IPv6.


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