ANTA CLARA, USA: Packet Design has added support for IPv6 to Route Explorer, its network management system that gives enterprises and service providers visibility into routing operations on their IP networks. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed IPv6 to replace the existing version, IPv4, which faces address-space limitations as Internet usage continues to grow.
With the new IPv6 capability, Route Explorer, which works by passively "listening" to routing protocol exchanges and computing a real-time, network-wide layer-3 topology, will now be able to monitor and analyze IPv6 networks, as well as those running IPv4. This information will enable network engineers to quickly identify and resolve problems, perform effective network maintenance, and do accurate change planning on increasingly complex networks that incorporate both versions of the protocol.
Route Explorer's IPv6 support is initially available for BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) and IS-IS (Intermediate System to Intermediate System), two routing protocols used widely by service providers. Support for IPv6 on the OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) routing protocol will be added later this year, followed by Cisco's enterprise-oriented EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol) in 2010.
"With the Internet expanding to encompass everything from phones to appliances, the use of IPv6 and its greatly expanded address space will become a necessity," said Jeff Raice, Packet Design's executive vice president of marketing and business development.
"While few organizations today have moved exclusively to IPv6, many are beginning to deploy it in parallel with IPv4 as they prepare their networks to support next-generation standards and heavier traffic volumes. Companies in the Far East and a growing number of service providers worldwide are taking the lead in this area, and migration to IPv6 is mandated for the US federal government. Since many of these organizations use Route Explorer to troubleshoot and plan their networks, it was critical for us to begin supporting IPv6 before it moves fully into the mainstream.
"Based on the market demand we've seen, IS-IS and BGP are most important for early adopters of IPv6, who are chiefly service providers. We will later add support for OSPF and EIGRP, as well as providing specialized variations such as 6PE, VPNv6 and 6VPE for providers of VPN [virtual private network] services," he added.
IPv6 support for the IS-IS and BGP protocols is available immediately as a $5,000 option with version 7.5 of the Route Explorer software.