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The European Commission is getting member states up to speed with the next-generation IPv6 Internet protocol by deploying the technology across its e-Infrastructure global research and education networks.

Erkki Liikanen, the Commissioner in charge of IT policy, last week sang the praises of the protocol. In a speech in Brussels he said the enormously expanded addressing capabilities of IPv6 - combined with better support for security mechanisms and Quality of Service - will open the door to "a vast new field of applications and services".

IPv6 has been recently promoted in the European Commission's e-Infrastructure as the cornerstone for the deployment of "3G and beyond" technologies.

According to Liikanen, the e-Infrastructure research networks have been designed to provide the most advanced integrated communication and information processing services to researchers in Europe. They aim to deliver easy, cheap and secure access to all types of distributed resources (computers, databases, heavy research instruments, etc).

The e-Infrastructure parallels the CyberInfrastructure in the USA andcentres on next generation high speed research networks, such as GEANT and the Grid infrastructures.

The work done in validating IPv6 through large-scale testbeds and towards the emergence of e-Infrastructures is fundamental to the deployment of the European Research Area, according to Liikanen.

"Given the global context of research, the global deployment of e-Infrastructures is a must and has an enormous potential to promote strong international cooperation," he said.

"It will help to place IPv6 firmly on the map and provide a clear marker of a winning technology that will transform and enrich our society." ®

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