Tuesday, January 29, 2008

DOST Siquijor is IPv6-ready

By Archimedes Gaviola

On the 27th of December 2005, IPv6 traffic passed along the provincial office of Department of Science and Technology [DOST] Siquijor. The office have availed an Internet connection through DSL by a local Internet service provider in the province, which is of course an IPv4 connection. The current IPv4 Internet is being used to overlay IPv6 Internet for transition.

Where to Get IPv6 Connection?

Freenet6 of Hexago Corporation in Canada offers free IPv6 connection for everyone. A transition mechanism tool called Tunnel Setup Protocol Client (TSPC) is used to be able to connect to Hexago’s IPv6 tunnel server. This tool can be downloaded for free at their website (www.hexago.com). While a tunnel is setup on one of the office PC called as the IPv6 gateway server to the Freenet6 IPv6 tunnel server, then IPv6 encapsulation and decapsulation of packets are done between these two servers. Hexago provides /64 prefix (pronounced as slash 64) on one of the server’s interface for IPv6 connectivity on your hosts in the network. This prefix is assigned by Freenet6 tunnel server, advertised by the IPv6 gateway server to be solicited by IPv6 hosts in the office’s LAN. The presence of this /64 prefix will be used by the IPv6 hosts for routing and address aggregation. Approximately, /64 can provide the provincial office alone with 2^64 global IPv6 addresses which is almost 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 addresses. Global IPv6 addresses are publicly accessible addresses in the IPv6 Internet. This is a bunch of IPv6 addresses. More addresses than what IPv4 can give. Such addresses are ready to accommodate IPv6 devices like computers, cellular phones and PDAs in an end-to-end fashion of communication.

IPv6-ready Operating System

FreeBSD is a well-known open source operating system with best TCP/IP stack both IPv4 and IPv6. Since this is an open source, then this is free for use and download. This is a Unix-based operating system that is suitable for building IPv4 and IPv6 network servers such as gateways and routers for flexibility and robust network performance. This is one of the chosen operating system from KAME project where IPv6 implementation was coded. This operating system is installed on a Pentium-based PC with 64-megabytes of RAM, with 2 network interfaces and a 4-gigabyte hard disk drive. Hardware are not that expensive as you might expect, as long as this OS can detect all the components of your computer including software drivers, then its going to be a straightforward installation. Other open source stuff used is PF (Packet Filter) – a built-in software in FreeBSD used for firewall that greatly supports IPv4 and IPv6 including network address translation (NAT) for IPv4. PF is used to screen IPv4 and IPv6 packets for protection.

IPv6-ready Web Sites to Visit

After a successful TSPC deployment, the FreeBSD IPv6 gateway server is ready to take your journey in the IPv6 world. In the office, IPv6-ready sites are now reachable through web browsing. IPv6-ready sites such as Kame.net (www.kame.net) – a legendary site with a dancing turtle (known as kame in Japanese) every time you visit the site through IPv6 which is located in Japan. Furthermore, KAME Project is the effort of IPv6 implementation for *BSD operating system variants such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD and BSD/OS. Another interesting site is the IPv6.org (www.ipv6.org) - an organization which promotes the use and deployment of IPv6 that will show your IPv6 address while browsing its site and indicates an end-to-end connectivity with your PC to their web server. Lastly, from Germany managed by an IPv6 guru, Dr. Peter Bieringer which promotes the use of IPv6 in Linux operating systems have build a native IPv6-only web server (www.ipv6.bieringer.de) showing a dancing penguin ( a Linux mascot) in his site. This site is exclusively accessible through IPv6 only. Above all, these sites I’ve mention gives an indication that you have reached the IPv6 Internet. To be able to experience IPv6, you can visit DOST-PSTC Siquijor office.

IPv6 and the Future

Internet Protocol version 6 or IPv6 is known as the “Next Generation Internet” with a 128-bit address length as compared to IPv4 with 32-bit address length which is almost in shortage phase. Days are coming wherein every object and devices will be connected over the Internet like home equipments and appliances such as microwave oven, refrigerator, washing machine, television, cellular phones, wrist watches, pants, jeans, shoes, slippers, T-shirt and any object on every home. This protocol is also extending widely for automobiles, industrial machines, buildings, houses, roads and bridges. IPv6 will be the key element on this ubiquitous communication. Emerging technology like this for information and communication will bring awareness that we have taken our step to the new trend of technology. The IPv6 setup in the DOST-PSTC Siquijor office is just a crude deployment but still considered as one of the early adopters of IPv6 in the country located in the island province. Moreover, this is just the beginning of IPv6 technology in the province.