A global, industry-based certification program for products and services that use the IPv6 protocol will soon target Australia’s IT industry.
The IPv6 Forum, a global consortium of research networks with 160-plus members, including Cisco Systems, HP, IBM and Sun Microsystems, recently launched the IPv6 Ready logo program. (In 1992 the Internet Engineering Task Force initiated the effort to solve the shortage of addresses of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). SIPP (Simple Internet Protocol Plus) was chosen from several IP candidates and adopted in 1994 and named the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in 1995 when a basic specification was established.)
The Forum’s objectives include promoting interoperable implementations of IPv6 in order to create a quality, secure, next-generation Internet.
As part of the program, vendors or service providers can submit their product and/or documentation to an IPv6-certified test lab, usually a university. If the IPv6 Forum’s standard is met, the product or service is issued with certification documentation such as the IPv6 Ready logo which could be used to assure potential customers the product or service is IPv6 compliant.
The Ready program has yet to certify a product or service, but its Tokyo-based chairman, Hiroshi Esaki, said applications were being received.
“We will be able to announce the [certified] products via the Web page soon,” he said.
The IPv6 Ready logo program’s local launch will coincide with that of the IPv6 Forum Downunder, to be held at the annual Linux.conf.au conference on January 12, in Adelaide.
The Australian Academic and Research Network IPv6 working committee chair, Michael Biber, said he hoped an Australian test lab will be established next year.
“How I see it at the moment is an Australian vendor would start dialogue with the Forum, then make a request to a certification lab like the University of New Hampshire in the US.
“The vendor would complete an online test and send those authenticated results to the lab. After that the vendor would physically submit its product and documentation to the test lab for certification,” he said. If successful, the lab would send the applicant certification documentation.
Biber said there were no constraints on the use of the IPv6 Ready logo, so vendors and service providers could use the logo in marketing their product or service.
Applicants will pay for the cost of shipping, while testing and certification will be paid for by the Ready program, Biber said.
Certification will require membership of the non-profit organisation, which costs $200, Biber said.
“Anyone that’s interested is welcome to join. We’d like to have corporate and consumer users, vendors, carriers. We also want resellers to promote products that are IPv6 ready,” he said.
Hardware affected by IPv6 will include firewalls, VPNs, WLANs, access points, routers and switches, while software will include network management, VoIP, portals, Web services, videoconferencing and so forth.
“Software developers are a big target audience for us,” Biber said. “[We’d like] games developers, anyone who writes programs that use IPv6.”
“This is going to be a pervasive technology, from entertainment to TV to MRI scans,” he said.
“It’s not just about the sale of routers and switches; it is about performance, cost, scalability and security.”
An IPv6 self-test application is currently available online, said Biber, which can be used to gauge how a product or service compares to the certification standard.
Those interested in the Forum and/or certification will find contact details on the local IPv6 Forum Web site which will be activated this week, Biber said.