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IPv6 translation device released

High claims for network protocol conversion technology

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A Japanese firm has released what it claims is the first network protocol conversion device that can translate between current and next-generation Internet protocols.

The TTB translator, which comes from the YDC subsidiary of Yokogawa Electric, converts between IPv6 and IPv4, the current version of the Internet protocol used in almost all networks today.

AsiaBiz Tech reports the device, whose price will start at around $8,140, will be marketed to telecommunications carriers and Internet Service Providers as a means to allow networks built on IPv6-based kit to connect to the Internet or other networks that still use IPv4. It uses a technology for conversion similar to that used to perform Network Address Translation (NAT) in IPv4.

When the protocol of traffic is converted using the device, associations between TCP (transmission control protocol) port number along with source and destination IP addresses are retained. The TTB Translator enables multiple users in an IPv6 network environment to connect to a IPv4 network.

As previously reported Cisco is prepping the rollout of IPv6 kit for next month, and the success of otherwise, of the TTB translator, will depend on whether it offers anything extra for service providers making the transition to IPv6.

The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) IPng Transition Working Group has come up with a transition scheme that specifies the use of a Dual IP layer providing complete support for both IPv4 and IPv6 in hosts and routers, and IPv6-over-IPv4 tunnelling, encapsulating IPv6 packets within IPv4 headers to carry them over existing routing infrastructures.

A possible difficulty here involves IPv6-enabled end-user sites without Internet Service Provider (ISP) that provides native IPv6 transport services. Using IPv6-over-IPv4 encapsulation or tunnelling between these sites is a complex to set up, but whether the TTB translator would help in this isn't immediately clear.

Essentially, IPv6's role is to expand the available number of Internet addresses - from the current maximum of four billion to 340 trillion trillion trillion - and so allow far more devices, from servers to PCs to Net-enabled domestic appliances, to be connected to the global Net. It also features improved security and mobility features.

The snag is the shift to IPv6 will involve not just an upgrade in network infrastructure but a broader shift - in operating systems, middleware and application software - from the current IPv4 to IPv6. ®

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