Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, December 22, 2003
China develops IPv6 technology to tackle IP address exhaustion
The Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in Beijing it had developed some core IPv6 technologies including testing software, network monitor and control, switch gateways between IPv4 and IPv6 protocols, mobile IPv6 gateways and switch machines for IPv6 networks.
With the rapid growth of Internet users and net application, IP address, a kind of code resource like telephone number, is going to be used up.
Nevertheless, the Institute of Computing Technology (ICT) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in Beijing it had developed some core IPv6 technologies including testing software, network monitor and control, switch gateways between IPv4 and IPv6 protocols, mobile IPv6 gateways and switch machines for IPv6 networks.
As learned, compared with the "Godson" CPU it put out in 2002, the IPv6 possesses more intellectual property rights of China's own and has applied for 16 patents of national inventions.
The present Internet is based on IPv4 protocol. Meanwhile, since the Internet originated in the US, the country has much advantage in IP address distribution. Among the world total of 4 billion IP addresses, 74 percent went to the US itself while the European and Asia-Pacific countries, as latecomers, could only share the rest 26 percent of leftovers.
China, in particular, suffers serious IP address shortage. Statistics show that currently the nation has more than 60 million Internet users, but only a total of 30 million-odd IP addresses are available, namely two users sharing one address. Meanwhile, the nation's 240 million mobile phone users are turning into potential Internet surfers and they need their own IP addresses too. The inadequate supply of IP address is becoming a bottleneck for the Internet development in the country.
Moreover, the security problem is much an innate defect of Internet protocols. The present IP protocol has no security to speak of, experts from the Institute say. Because the Internet was originally designed for the exclusive use of the military and scientific researches and didn't mean to make it open to the outside, no possible hacker attacks were therefore taken into consideration. However, along with the wider and wider commercial use of the Internet, the question has drawn increasing attention. IPv6 is beyond doubt more reliable in terms of security.
IPv6 is the base and soul of the next-generation Internet, experts point out, so conducting researches on IPv6 key technologies and building a demonstration IPv6 net is on the whole of great significance for constructing the nation's future information infrastructure, developing IT industry and raising the national competitiveness.
Statistics indicate that by now more than 50 countries and regions have joined the rank of IPv6 studies. Router-makers from America and Canada have put out router products serving IPv6. European countries also pin high hope on IPv6, with Nokia and Ericsson taking the lead. In the meantime, Japan and the ROK also realized the huge potential of IPv6, especially the former, which has built two IPv6 network for commercial use, and is planning a national transition to IPv6 by 2005.
It is the core of the next-generation Internet to update the present IPv4-based 32-digit Internet protocol to an IPv6-based 128-digit one, said Li Guojie, director of the Institute and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Just like computers updated from 32 digit to 64 digit, the Internet is going to be updated from 32 digit to 128 digit.
The scientist, who has successfully pushed China's own "Godson" CPU to the world, noted that due to the incompatibility between IPv4 and IPv6, the economic returns to be brought by hardware and software based on next-generation Internet address protocol is inestimable. "IPv6 has forged an opportunity for reshuffling the IT industry, and China must avail of the opportunity to boost its IT Industry".
It is out of this reason that the Institute first started its innovation project on "IPv6 Internet key technologies and demonstration network" in 2001.
Besides, the Institute also joined hands with China Netcom to build a trial IPv6 network in Chongqing. This is the world's first IPv6-based large-scale network put into trial operation. Meanwhile, the Institute has also built another demonstration network on science and education information that covers the Zhongguancun Software Park, Beijing Science & Technology Commission and the Institute itself. By now China has made a great headway in part of IPv6 key technologies and network operation. In the field of next-generation Internet technologies, experts say China has gone ahead of the United States and even the world.