Hearings Spotlight Asia's Push To Adopt IPv6|
In Congressional hearings on the Internet upgrade to IPv6, much attention was focused Thursday on the presumed lead over the U.S. by Asian countries, which are boldly moving to the new Web technology.
"Asian countries have been aggressive in adopting IPv6 technology, because Asia controls only about 9 percent of the allocated IPv4 addresses and yet has more than half of the world's population," Congressman Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the Committee on Government Reform, said at the hearings.
Davis noted that Asian governments have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in IPv6 technology, which vastly opens up the number of Internet addresses over the current IPv4 technology. Among the additional advantages of IPv6 are improved security measures and additional links for wireless devices.
Jawad Khaki, a corporate vice president at Microsoft, cited ways Japan, China, India, and South Korea are moving quickly to implement the next version of Internet technology. Japan, Khaki observed, made IPv6 a national priority back in 2000 and quickly earmarked government support for the upgrade.
"We anticipate that Japan will roll out robust, commercial IPv6 networks capable of supporting tens of millions of broadband subscribers over the next few years," said Khaki, before the panel, observing also that the move to IPv6 is receiving aid from the governments of India and China.
Khaki observed that Microsoft's Windows XP operating system was released in October 2001 with a developer preview of IPv6. As for Microsoft's next-generation operating system, he said the Longhorn OS will be fully IPv6 compatible. He added that Longhorn with IPv6 capability is being tested internally at Microsoft.
"These internal deployments help us gain operational experience in deploying and simultaneously running IPv4 and IPv6 technologies on our corporate network," said Khaki. "It also allows us to extensively test our products and services prior to release to the public."
Khaki told the assembled members of Congress that the software colossus has been striving to develop security technologies that will operate in hybrid IPv4 and IPv6 environments. "In Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, even when IPv6 is enabled on the network, many applications and services will only respond via IPv4," he said. "Under this situation, existing IPv4-based security mechanisms continue to protect the network traffic over IPv4."
Another speaker, Karen Evans representing the Office of Management and Budget pointed out that most operating systems currently in use already support IPv6 while many installed routers and switches have the upgrade built-in.
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