Monday, December 27, 2004

China Welcomes IPv6 Internet

China has broken the United States monopoly on the Internet by launching the first backbone network of the next-generation Internet popularly called as CERNET2 (China Education and Research Network).

According to reports, CERTNET2 is now being called the biggest network running the next generation Internet since it connects 25 universities in about 20 cities. Tests have proven that the network is capable of reaching speeds of about 40 gigabits per second, setting a record for real-world applications, while the average speeds are about 2-10 gigabits for universities.

About half of the key equipment, including routers is being provided by Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant, and Tsinghua Bit-Way. The network is expected to spread to about 100 universities soon.

Source: Link


self said...

How has China broken a monopoly? I didn't realize there was one!

Merlinx said...

I hope it's not in Chinese... :-) Also, setting up a network with today's technology isn't that hard. What would really determine its success as a viable alternative to the existing information networks, i.e. primarily the Internet, is regulation. See how easily Wi-Fi and other wireless networks have sprung to life. People can setup relay nodes easily these days for any kind of network but who's going to control the flow of information traffic and access to the network? Time will tell. Popcorn anyone?

G3nu1n3 said...

It should not be forgotten that the real motivation behind building a IPv6 Network is the Lack of IP address space ... which has become a strategic issue across the world, especially in Asia and some parts of Europe where access to blocks of IP addresses is severely limited. When IP addresses were originally handed out, the United States had the most advanced computer technology infrastructure; therefore, it is no surprise that it holds approximately 75 percent of all IP addresses.

Consider the fact that China, the most populous country in the world, has the same number of official IP addresses as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This highlights the massive disparity in the distribution of IPv4 addresses. While it is not anticipated that IPv4 will run out of addresses in the very near future, there are significant drivers pushing for the implementation of a new protocol IPv6.
Not only this but imagine the consumption of IP addresses by chinese people using thier cellphones and other handhelp devices.

Chinese which are known as the Copy-Kings are showing little signs of "innovation". You might rememember that last year a new DVD format was introduced by chinese. The latest IBM and Lenovo deal changed the way people looked at china's involvement in technology.

Merlinx said...

I can understand the problem, but from a purely technical perspective, I wonder if its necessary to build a parallel public information network (PIN) just to address the IP-space problem?

I mean look at the difference b/w the original HTML specification draft that came out in the mid-90s (HTML 2.0) and the XHTML 2.0 draft from summer this year. (Just FYI, the original HTML specification didn't even have support for the TABLE tag.) It's evolved -- not been replaced. The Internet could be upgraded in a similar manner to accommodate more IP address space (e.g. by increasing a subnet layer like instead of building a parallel PIN altogether.

What I am driving here at is that the creation of a second parallel global PIN has more political connotations rather than technical ones similar to the GPS vs. Galileo satellite positioning rivalry b/w USA and the EU. I think other world powers want to come up with another PIN in order to break the West's monopoly with the Internet particularly USA's (also its English language domination, b/c the lingua franca of the Net is English.)

Rafay Bin Ali said...

With regards to merlinx suggestion that instead of replacing IPv4, we could simply add another subnet layer:

As far as my knowlege goes, isnt subnetting done within one private network to isolate different networks within asingle network??? Adding another layer might solve the problem of assigning private IP addresses. But how would it solve the problem of public IP addresses????

Plus, IP v4 has other problems too: like there is no standardized built in security mechanism. Encryption is also not addressed there. Also, another reason for removal of IP v4 is to get rid of the "classes" system while assigning IP addresses.

Ummm, may i right?

Merlinx said...

You're quite correct on all those accounts Rafay. I decided to do some more follow up reading on IPv6 after you snowballed me but it was worth it. ;-) IPv6 will replace the existing 32-bit address system with a 128-bit one, which should solve the address space issue for all eternity, until the next eternity comes along of course. ;-) One motivation is to allow anything that can communicate to have an IP address -- whether it's a router, a cell phone or even a toaster. To quote one line from one of the articles (at the end of this post) IPv6 will allow 6 x 10^23 IP addresses to be allocated per square meter of the earth's surface. (Geez...) It also takes into consideration all the things Rafay just mentioned regarding security, efficiency and performance. IPv6 is backwards-compatible with the existing IPv4 system (and that's why I said it is an upgrade, in that sense basically meaning one won't have to be cut-off per se to deploy the other). In IPv6 the addresses will have the dots from IPv4 replaced with colons and will be in hexadecimal instead of decimal (in IPv4 -- btw IPv4 is also actually hex but written decimal for ease of perception by all and sundry) so this is what an IPv6 address will look like:


IPv6 will allow you to compress a string of zeroes (only one sequence if there are multiple in an address) with a double colon so the above address would become:


Supposing you had an address today say

In IPv6 that would become 0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000: or :: i.e. IPv6 will still allow a dual-rendition on the last 32-bits for backwards compatibility with IPv4. Also it will follow the Class B type address scheme found in today's IPv4 address mechanism because there will be 48-bits for the provider, 16-bits for the local subnet and 64-bits for the host itself. (It is 16+8+8 in IPv4.)

It is a project of the IETF and not by any specific country. So basically China's next-gen network has a jump start on the upcoming standard but I guess in light of my readings, it doesn't have any proprietary rights or contributions to the underlying standard so I doubt whether it will be able to come up with a bona fide replacement to the Net.

For further reading, it is better if interested parties visit the "sites" rather than read my commentary: :-)

Faisal Nasim said...

NAT is used extensively to beat the IP space problem. IPv6 discourages the use of NAT because there are so many IP addresses available. There is a nice article on this issue: