During keynote presentations at the recent IPv6 Summit held in Paris representatives from key organisations ETSI, ARCEP, IETF and EANTC, along with a number of operators and vendors, focused on the potential of IPv6 Enhanced to accelerate development of the digital economy through increased connectivity.
Opening the summit, Sameer Ashfaq Malik, Senior Principal Analyst at Omdia, observed that in a world with a population of over 7 billion, the number of IP-capable devices increases sharply. With IPv4 supporting only 4.3 billion IP addresses, another solution is clearly needed. Moreover, address exhaustion is not the only issue; the trillion-dollar B2B vertical industry market now needs full connectivity. IPv6 Enhanced provides differentiated service capabilities to implement high-speed, efficient, flexible, and intelligent next-generation Internet, meeting industry interconnection requirements in the digital era.
Latif Ladid, Chairman of the ETSI IPE Alliance, delivered a video presentation themed "IPv6 Enhanced Powers Digitization and Innovation". He said that IPv6 is developing rapidly, and that countries have placed more importance on IPv6 and enacted policies to promote the development of IPv6 globally. The ETSI IPE Alliance is actively promoting IPv6 development and innovation, with more than 80 members at present.
The alliance defined IPv6 Enhanced in 2020, and in 2021 fully set out the value in a range of scenarios including 5G, cloud, and data centre. The alliance proposes IPv6 Enhanced innovations from six dimensions: ultra-high bandwidth, ubiquitous connectivity, automation, low latency, deterministic quality, and security. Ladid said that SRv6, as the core of IPv6 Enhanced, propels IPv6 innovations to new heights and can fully unleash the potential of connectivity, and he encouraged industry parties to join the IPE Alliance to jointly promote IPv6 development globally.
IPv6 is seeing widespread adoption around the world. Jean-Charles Bisecco, an IPv6 Task Force expert with French regulator ARCEP, profiled the IPv6 development situation in France. Bisecco believes that the uptake of IPv6 is driven by multiple factors, including policies, network status, and service development. Currently, IPv6 adoption is ramping up in France. Under the guidance of policies and regulators, it is estimated that by 2024, more than two in three terminals will use IPv6, and more than 90% of operator fixed networks will use IPv6.
The IPv6 Task Force of ARCEP believes that encouraging enterprises to migrate to IPv6 is the most pressing task. The Task Force releases guidance documents every year to help enterprises migration, for example “Businesses: How to Deploy IPv6” released at the summit, which is aimed at helping enterprise IT teams understand their IPv6 requirements and to plan and deploy IPv6 accordingly. Bisecco finished by reminding the audience that dedicated protocols and SRv6 are essential to the future development of IPv6.
The development of standards is critical to the development of IPv6 and IPv6 innovations. In a presentation "Progress of IPv6 Enhanced Standard and Industry" Zhenbin Li, an IETF IAB member introduced the IPv6 Enhanced technology system and its development status. Li emphasised that IPv6 innovations are a growing trend in the global network field. IPv6 Enhanced development standards can be divided into three phases: 1.0 focusing on basic SRv6 capabilities, 2.0 focusing on 5G/cloud-oriented new network services, and 3.0 focusing on the APN architecture.
Carsten Rossenhövel, Managing Director and Co-Founder, EANTC AG, a leading international testing centre, delivered a speech titled "Industry Update on SRv6 Technology & Interoperability" at the summit. EANTC focuses on professional testing of innovative telecommunications technologies, adhering to the highest quality standards, and actively participating in the standardization of test methods. Focusing on new technologies such as SDN, NETCONF, Segment Routing, EVPN, Flexible Algorithm and FlexE, EANTC organises multi-vendor interoperability tests, including Cisco, Huawei, Juniper, and Nokia.
EANTC believes SRv6 has a promising future. The organisation has completed multi-vendor SRv6 joint test, which fully prove the operability of SRv6 in large-scale networking and Rossenhövel now believes that SRv6 is "ready for prime time".
Operators are taking a key role in IPv6 development, and network infrastructure is the foundation for IPv6 development. Top three operator in France, Bouygues Telecom, provides both mobile and fixed network services and deployed a fibre network covering all key nodes in France. François Bouju, IP Backbone Network Architect from Bouygues Telecom, told delegates that the operator has witnessed rapid IPv6 development in recent years. Bouygues expects almost 100% IPv6 activation in the next two years and its mobile networks will be IPv6-only networks in the future.
Technology Expert at Telefonica’s Global CTIO unit, Luis Miguel Contreras Murillo, said that SRv6 is the operator’s target solution as the unified transport mechanism in operational networks. In his presentation titled "SRv6 and IETF Network Slices" he explained how SRv6 network programming allows operators to specify a packet processing program by encoding a sequence of instructions in the IPv6 packet header. After outlining the concept of IETF Network Slice and SRv6 for realisation of IETF Network Slices, Murillo drew three conclusions: first, that operational networks will evolve to SRv6 because of the flexibility provided, using a uniform way of delivering traffic, including TE capabilities; second, that network slicing will be the new norm of providing tailored services by service providers for external and internal customers; finally, that it is necessary to define proper and scalable manners of supporting network slices leveraging on SRv6 as natural evolution of existing services.
In his presentation “Thinking and Practice of IPv6 Enhanced”, Post Luxembourg Fixed Network Director, Carlo Richartz noted that Post Luxembourg is committed to IPv6 Enhanced innovation and practice in the telecom field and aims to build a 2027-oriented target network based on IPv6/SRv6. The operator deploys 400GE network interfaces to meet service growth needs, and uses new technologies such as SRv6, slicing, and IFIT to guarantee the SLAs of B2B services. It also simplifies protocols and introduces AI to reduce OPEX.
MTN South Africa’s General Manager of Fixed Line Technology Services, Calvin Govender, shared MTN's experience in IPv6 Enhanced-based intelligent cloud-network construction. He noted that South Africa has a huge market space, occupying 65% of the African cloud market. Govender believes cloud-based network development will help MTN seize the cloud market. MTN has built the world's first IPv6 Enhanced-based intelligent cloud-network using the CAASI framework, enabling the network to access multiple clouds over one connection and provide one-stop services and deterministic service quality. According to Govender, this lays a solid foundation for MTN's cloud service development in South Africa.
For the vendor community, Daniel Wu, CTO of Huawei Datacom Product Line European Branch, noted that as digitalisation has swept across the world it has enabled digital transformation of a wide range of industries. In his presentation "IPv6 Enhanced, Unleashing Connectivity Potential" Wu highlighted how none of this would be possible without IP networks: “IP networks play a pivotal role in connecting all things and applications, as they connect to all things at one end and a myriad of service applications at the other end”.
“At the same time, digitalization poses new requirements for IP network development. IPv6 becomes increasingly important with the emergence of new requirements. IPv6 Enhanced comprehensively improves network capabilities based on IPv6. It not only drives innovation and entrepreneurship, digital economy transformation, science & technology development, and economic growth in the post-pandemic era, but also plays an important role in the digitalization of numerous industries.”
Closing the summit, moderator Sameer Ashfaq Malik summed up by saying that IPv6 adoption is inevitable and will lay a solid foundation for the digital economy of tomorrow. A global sense of urgency around IPv6 and IPv6 enhanced enabled technologies is imperative for solving network problems in the digital era.