Verizon has begun testing on its all-fiber FiOS network a new Internet communications protocol that will enable the Internet to continue to expand and facilitate the future development of innovative services.
The new protocol - known as Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6 - is designed to eventually replace the current Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), which over the next few years is expected to reach the maximum number of IP addresses it can accommodate, due to the rapid growth of the World Wide Web and IP-connected devices.
IPv6 expands the number of possible addresses from approximately 4 billion with IPv4 to roughly 340 trillion trillion trillion IPv6 addresses.
Because both IPv4 and IPv6 will be in use during the expected lengthy transition period, network-connected equipment and network operating systems must be able to handle both protocols.
"FiOS is a key service that can take advantage of IPv6," said Jean McManus, executive director - packet network technology for Verizon. "We've been working on an IPv6 transition plan for FiOS along with our other residential and enterprise services, and this work involves testing network equipment and making necessary customer premises equipment changes to ensure interoperability and proper operation of equipment. The FiOS trial is a key step toward enabling IPv6 in our core network, on edge routers and on CPE."
Verizon's month-long trial of IPv6 involves FiOS-enabled customer homes with customized CPE - provided by Verizon - that can support both IPv6 and IPv4. The dual protocol setup will also be implemented on Verizon's edge gateway routers. Verizon employs 6PE technology, which uses IPv6-provider edge routers to connect across the company's IPv4 MPLS core. The IPv6 traffic is then sent over IPv6-capable peering connections.
A key advantage of IPv6, McManus said, is that a customer's home router would no longer require network address translation (NAT), which makes it possible for a single public Internet address to be translated into many private IP addresses to accommodate multiple IP-enabled devices inside the home. IPv6 allows each device to have its own public address. This streamlining of the home environment will allow for more innovation in services to occur.
"As a result of this trial, we can begin to validate our strategy for IPv6 migration for the residential market while maintaining service continuity during the transition," she said.
Verizon has a long heritage of IPv6 expertise. The company was one of the first in the industry to begin deploying the protocol in 1998 for its very high-performance backbone network service (vBNS) for its government customers. Today, Verizon continues to support IPv6 on its networks used by enterprise and government customers and will enable and deploy additional IPv6 equipment and services on its public and private IP global networks in 2010 and 2011.
Verizon Wireless is also implementing IPv6 in its evolved packet core that will be supporting the Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployment.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 91 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.