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IPv6-Centric Networking: Innovation Without Constraints

Over the last several months, I’ve been pleased to invite Mark Townsley, Cisco Fellow and recognized expert on Internet Protocol (IP), to discuss IPv6 as a key enabler of the Internet of Everything (IoE). In his series of guest blogs, Mark has explained the basics of IPv6 and why it is important (“Demystifying IPv6”), and discussed some of the technical challenges of moving to this latest version of IP (“Moving to IPv6: Rebuilding the Heart of the Internet Without Missing a Beat”). In this installment, Mark takes a look into the future at some of the things IPv6 will make possible. I’m particularly excited about this, because the unlimited addressing scheme of IPv6 is what will enable the exponential growth of connections among people, process, data, and things that will drive $14.4 trillion in IoE private-sector value over the next decade, and dramatically impact our daily lives. This is Mark’s third and final blog on IPv6.

 

townsleyIn my last blog, I explored various ways that IPv4 and IPv6 can coexist on the same network —each vital during the global IPv6 transition period, which began in earnest after the World IPv6 Launch last year. Today, I want to highlight new network deployments and designs that I like to call “IPv6-centric.” These architectures go beyond the more conservative approach of a congruent dual-stack IP network. Instead, they are designed and operated from the ground up with IPv6 at the base. While these networks can accommodate IPv4, IPv6 takes center stage.

 

IPv6-Centric Mobile Networks: Beginning last month, T-Mobile and Metro PCS users in the United States running the latest version of Android software are now provisioned with IPv6 by default, with no IPv4 address from the ISP network. Traffic to IPv6-enabled destinations such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Wikipedia will simply use IPv6. Traffic to non-IPv6-enabled sites will be translated to IPv4 after traversing the ISP network. If there are any remaining applications on the device that simply do not know how to handle IPv6, the Android device itself performs and IPv4-to-IPv6 translation internally, so the access network doesn’t see IPv4 at all.

“4G speeds and IoE are driving ‘scale-up’ and ‘scale-out’ in mobile networks. The scarcity of globally routable IPv4 addresses forces a series of compromises that an IPv6-only infrastructure alleviates, providing a solid bedrock to build upon.”

—    Cameron Byrne, T-Mobile Wireless, USA

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A Global Standard for Narrowband Power Line Communications

Steep increase in global demand for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), Electric Vehicle charging, and Intelligent Street Lighting has spurred interest to implement communications for these Neighborhood Area Network (NAN) applications over currently installed assets.  Narrow Band Power Line Communication  (NB-PLC) addresses this need by providing a communication solution which operates over existing utility distribution networks.

IEEE 1901.2 Narrowband PLC: Final Steps to the Finish Line

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Driving to the goal of a global NB-PLC standard, Cisco is vigorously engaged in the development of   IEEE 1901.2 NarrowBand PLC.  IEEE 1901.2 adopts the latest generation PLC techniques and  provides full adaptation to the latest IETF enabling technologies for IPv6 based NANs (6LoWPAN, RPL, MPL, etc.). IEEE 1901.2 is further aligned with other important Smart Utility Network technologies such as IEEE 802.15.4g/e.  Multi service IP based NANs are thus a reality, able to seamlessly support a mixture of PHY/MAC technologies appropriate for specific deployments

The IEEE 1901.2 standard is in its final stages of development, with publishing of the finished document expected by the end of 2013.

HomePlug Netricity for Conformance and Interoperability Certification

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With the imminent arrival of the 1901.2 standard comes the need for a certification program to insure product conformance to the specification and interoperability between multiple vendor’s product offerings.  The HomePlug Powerline Alliance is rising to this challenge.  HomePlug’s Netricity program, with the full support of Cisco, is moving smartly ahead with development of a conformance and interoperability certification program for IEEE 1901.2 based devices.  Expect certification testing to begin 2014.

Cisco salutes the commitment and expertise of the entire 1901.2 and Netricity development teams. A global standard for interoperable NB-PLC will soon be a reality!

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Cisco Small Business Online Device Emulators

How do you get a feel for things? Perhaps a little research online, a review or two, maybe a referral from a friend or co-worker. But big purchases, such as a new car may require more; more information.  So you go to take a test drive. Well, we have something similar to a test drive.

As you may know, it is not often you get a chance to check out how an IT device’s graphical user interface (GUI) looks and feels. Sure you might see a couple of static screen capture and be able to point how the navigation menu is laid out. But beyond that, it is not until the device is purchased and in the installation process, that the real user experience is realized. It’s hard to get a grasp on on the level of complexity for set-up and deployment, let alone configure a VLAN or set-up a secure VPN.

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Well, we have offered something better. Our team has delivered a set of device emulators, including switches, access points and routers. You can actually navigate through the actual menus, see how the wizards look and work, and truly get a sense of how easy the small business products are to configure, install, deploy and manage.

Here is what the emulators/GUI’s look like:
Emulator screenshot

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Small Business Online Device Emulators

You will notice that all of the small business product user interfaces share the same look and feel, as well as similar general navigation principles. With our Small Business product line, we truly take to heart the need for a great user experience and are always looking to make our products easier to use.

Please, leave us a comment or suggestion good, bad or otherwise to help us improve our products.

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Moving to IPv6: Rebuilding the Heart of the Internet Without Missing a Beat

Within the coming decade, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) will be key to enabling 50 billion connections among people, processes, data, and things in the Internet of Everything (IoE)But how we get there from here is not a simple matter.

I’m very pleased to invite Mark Townsley, Cisco Fellow and recognized industry expert on IP, to discuss this important transition in the second of our three-part blog series on IPv6. The first blog in Mark’s series was “Demystifying IPv6”.

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Three years ago, I organized a conference in Paris where I thought it would be fascinating to bring together the original designers of IPv6 alongside the engineers who were finally deploying it at scale more than a decade later. During this discussion, Steve Deering, one of the “fathers” of IPv6 in the 1990s, was asked one of the most common questions about IPv6: Why wasn’t it designed for backward compatibility with IPv4? After all, wouldn’t it be easier to make the transition if the two versions could transparently coexist? Steve answered that the problem is not that IPv6 wasn’t designed to be backward-compatible—the real problem is that IPv4 wasn’t designed to be forward-compatible.

Steve was making the point that IPv4 was designed with a fixed address space. Given the number of computers connected to the Arpanet throughout the 1970s, this fixed-length address field seemed to be sufficient—at least for that version of IP. IP had been replaced before, and it seemed perfectly reasonable at the time that it might be replaced again. Read More »

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Cisco Live USA 2013: Recap from a Network Security Engineer

Having just returned home to New Jersey from Cisco Live US in Orlando, Florida, I thought I’d share my experiences as a Network Security Engineer both attending and presenting at this year’s conference.

There were approximately 20,000 attendees at this year’s conference, which I believe set a new Cisco Live attendance record! Considering the huge size of the conference, which rivals game day attendance at some small market Major League Baseball teams, I was amazed at the efficiency and organization of the conference—from the session logistics to the World of Solutions “happy hours” and the Customer Appreciation Event held at Universal Studios!

While listening to the various keynote speeches, most notably those from John ChambersPadmasree WarriorRob Lloyd, and Edzard Overbeek, it’s clear that Security, is “Top of Mind” for the Cisco Leadership Team.

Out of the roughly 625 sessions, there were approximately 100 sessions and labs focused on security, including a few below, which were presented by some of my fantastic and extremely bright peers within the Security organization. Sessions and labs included relevant topics such as network threat defenseIPv6threat mitigation, and intrusion prevent and signature development.http://csio.cisco.com/blog/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif Read More »

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