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IPv6 works in live testing; what’s next?


By Fred Baker, Cisco Fellow

During the week that World IPv6 day happened in, I was curious to see how the various networks involved were doing over time. I set up a test from my home, using a Hurricane Electric tunnel, IPv6 on my Mac (10.6.7), and my 871 router (15.1(3)T). I put together a simple script that would accept as input a set of web sites like http://www.cisco.com -- the web sites that ISOC said were going to be IPv6-accessible on the 8th of June -- and spidered them (e.g., read the web page using the unix ‘curl’ utility and scanned for href specifications). I then added the URLs I had learned to my list and continued to try them, gathering statistics on success rate for those that had AAAA records. As a result, I was doing about four page loads an hour from each domain in the list from June 5 through June 9 -- all times GMT.

One observation I made was at once gratifying and “as expected”. The various sites were coming up in advance of the magic day and, for the most part, serving IPv6 data successfully. One observation that surprised me a little at the time but in retrospect makes sense -- the download rate increased over time as well. Why? Well, it takes some time to attempt to download and discover that the AAAA record is not up or is up and the service isn’t quite there yet. As my probability of a successful download increased, my download rate increased.

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Secure Networking for (Really) Small Businesses

Today, Cisco came out with a new wireless VPN firewall specifically designed for the smallest of small businesses. In fact, the router is built for offices with one to five people that need remote access on a secure connection. The new router has what we call “business class” performance without the complexity often found in larger-scale products. Since the Cisco RV110W is designed with the “do-it-yourselfer” in mind, it’s very easy to use, and at $99 it’s affordable, even for extremely small companies.

It’s easy to set up, and requires no IT resources. You just plug it into the network. Partners can put it in place quickly so that you can stay focused on your business and not lose any time. The four-port switch that is integrated into the product lets you connect securely to computers, printers, IP phones, cameras, and other devices.  It works on both Windows and Mac OS-X for remote access to data anytime, anywhere. Also, the high-speed, wireless-N access points give you a faster file transfer time, which increases performance and the coverage area, helping employees to stay productive even if they are not at their desks.

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World IPv6 Day results positive

The much anticipated World IPv6 Day is now behind us. Almost 400 vendors came together on June 8, 2011 by enabling IPv6 for their content and services for 24 hours. Cisco was one of them. The goal of the test was to demonstrate the viability and potential caveats of a large-scale IPv6 deployment in the real world, as IPv6 has been steadily gaining more and more traction and interest recently due to the gradual IPv4 address exhaustion.

Internally, Cisco, as most organizations, was preparing for the 24 hours to go smoothly for its own IPv6-served content. At the same time, considering the large deployment of Cisco devices throughout networks everywhere, precautions were taken to address any issues that could arise during the dry run. Fortunately, activities concluded successfully with no major issues, showing that an IPv6 future could be closer than initially thought.

There already are and will be many reports created on results, statistics and lessons learned during testing. Among those, we would like to stress a few key-points taken from Cisco Distinguished and Support Engineers Carlos Pignataro, Salman Asadullah, Phil Remaker and Andrew Yourtchenko, who were all engaged in the project, which give a general feel on how the day went:

  • Vendor coordination was made possible, showing that even competitors can work together when it comes to a common goal that will benefit everyone.
  • There were no support cases related to the World IPv6 Day activities, which indicated a good level of both IPv6 preparedness and product readiness.
  • IPv6 adoption could happen smoothly, avoiding major technical issues when done methodically.
  • AAAA DNS records that are used for IPv6 do not automatically “break” the Internet, as it was often argued. There are certain challenges with providing an IPv6-enabled DNS infrastructure, but these can be addressed.
  • User experience feedback was positive. That was based on an IPv6-only approach. Due to the implementations in a dual-stack environment, user experience could deteriorate based on IPv6 and/or IPv4 performance. In such environments, solutions that track IPv6 and IPv4 performance can alleviate help. As the transition is taking place for years to come, dual-stacked environments will be the way to go, and solutions like Happy Eyeballs can certainly make the experience more transparent for users. The Chrome browser already implements a similar fall-back mechanism, which had documented benefits for some of its users.

Concluding, it is important to note that the successful World IPv6 Day exercise proved that transition to IPv6 would probably not be nearly as scary as many had originally thought some time ago. Careful and gradual adoption is easier than it was believed, and it is already happening. Product concerns, improvements and caveats here at Cisco are aggressively being worked on, and the future will only include positive developments.

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Why I’m Feelin’ Good About Chicago and The Cable Show

By Mark Palazzo, VP/GM, Cisco’s Cable Access business

As industry vendors, we go into every tradeshow mired in details. From the packed meeting schedules to the booth demos (things go much better when they work…!) to the evening events with customers and industry colleagues, it’s far less glamorous than our non-convention-going friends might think. Right? Then there’s struggle to get the suitcase zipped, with the new tonnage of stuff needing transit back to the office.

It’s only afterwards, with a weekend in between to parse the major themes, that the answers come. I’ve checked in with several Cisco colleagues who were on-site in Chicago for The Cable Show last week. We’re in agreement that if the question is “I saw the whole thing! What happened??” in terms of this year’s blur of a Cable Show, our short list goes like this:

  1. Optimism reigns in cable. In years past, and especially last year, it seemed that a miasma of anxiousness blanketed the cable industry, led by fears of over-the-top video providers – and especially Netflix, as a contender for the industry’s own video-on-demand business. This year, we went into the show fresh with knowledge that Netflix traffic continues to gobble up broadband capacity — yet the sense of optimism amongst service providers was unmistakable. To me, it almost felt like the buoyant good will of the go-go-franchise years, in the late ‘70s. With continued evidence that DOCSIS can see the industry through even the heaviest of bandwidth-heavy times, coupled with significant advancements in both “cloud” and “client” – it’s gratifying, as a vendor company focused nearly entirely on network, client, and cloud! Read More »

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Linksys E4200 Wireless Router Supports IPv6

June 20, 2011 at 8:59 am PST

New firmware (Ver.1.0.02) for the Linksys E4200 now provides support for IPv6.  IPv6 is the next generation Internet protocol.

Cisco as an organization is committed to supporting the transition to IPv6 in all its products and services it provides to service providers, enterprise and consumer customers.  IPv6 is foundational to the next generation Internet enabling a range of new services and improved user experiences.

As ISPs begin rolling out IPv6 service to their customers, consumers will need new routers and gateways that support IPv6 to participate in this next generation Internet.  Today, Cisco will begin enabling IPv6 across its consumer line of routers including the Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band Wireless-N Router.  It is critical that consumers begin looking for products and devices that support IPv6 or can be updated to IPv6.   Cisco has been and will continue to be a leader in the development of IPv6 so consumers can feel confident that home networking products from Cisco will provide top line performance now as well as providing a foundation for the future.

Now is the time to formulate an IPv6 transition strategy for your home network. Cisco recommends a three phase transition strategy:

  • Preserve your current investments in IPv4 as you transition over to IPv6 supported products.
  • Prepare Cisco Linksys home networking products provide native support for IPv6 as well as IPv4, ensuring your network is ready for the next generation of technologies.
  • Prosper – Take advantage of the next generation Internet at home which includes new applications incorporating video, mobility, energy management and cloud services providing for a better home networking experience.

We are introducing native IPv6 capability into the high end home networking product first, verifying its functionality, proving its stability, and then planning to reuse the base code into the other select Linksys products. While many of the base IPv6 specifications have been available for years, the IETF published RFC 6204 which defines the basic requirements for an IPv6 home router as recently as April 2011. IP is one of the most important protocols to the Internet, and IPv6 is the biggest change in IP in over 30 years. We want to be careful that the implementations we ship work well and adhere to the latest standards so that we do not hinder the adoption of IPv6 by content providers and ISPs.

Simply because there is not a widely deployed end to end IPv6 network yet (even though there are regional deployments). There are four basic areas where IPv6 support is required for the home:

  1. Endpoint devices (e.g., PCs, phones, tablets, etc.)
  2. A v6 broadband access network
  3. A v6 Internet (including websites with content)
  4. Home routers

Without all four areas, IPv6 is likely not to be used. To date, endpoint devices represent the bulk of IPv6 deployment. Home routers and Internet are following quickly with IPv6 capability. Broadband access networks will be the last to mass deploy IPv6 services (even though there are significant IPv6 deployments from major service providers available now).

The latest firmware for the Linksys E4200 is now available for download at our website: http://homesupport.cisco.com/en-us/wireless/linksys/E4200 and then going to the Download tab and then select hardware version 1. 

 Also note we have added some additional features in this firmware release including:

  • Support of USB printer connected to the router’s USB port, so that a user may send a print job to the printer via the local area network. ** This feature requires Cisco connect software v1.4 or later which is also available on the same download page as described above **
  • Added support of Native IPv6 and 6rd tunnel Internet connections
  • Added support of bridge mode
  • Prevented devices on the guest network to access any private IP address
IPV6 support will be available in other Linksys E-Series in the coming months. 
 

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