What Is “IPv6 Enhanced Innovation” & What Are Its Benefits？
The goal of the next generation of Internet is to be more convenient, open, intelligent, and secure. More convenient means adopting new-gen wireless communication technologies to build broadband networks that feature high speeds, low latency, large bandwidth, and massive connectivity potential.
Open, Smart & Secure
More open means adopting new network protocols, expanding the network address space, enhancing integrated network access capabilities, and enabling extensive connections from people to things. Smarter means using AI to manage and maintain networks to ensure stable and reliable network operations. More secure means identifying, authenticating, and authorizing network access objects and boosting data encryption to form a trusted and secure network.
Much like the various kinds of ID cards we use in person, the virtual world also requires ID systems – a role that IP addresses fulfill. Metaphorically, the IP protocol is the navigator of “courier systems” within the Internet. All the information we need to deliver, including text, images, and audio and video files, needs to be individually packed into “courier packages” and then transported by the express courier to the final destination.
Since the birth of the Internet, IPv4 – the first-gen courier system – has been in use. The rapid development of the Internet has clearly exposed the limitations of IPv4. The courier system was upgraded to a second-generation system and MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) was introduced.
By now, the challenges facing the Internet have gone far beyond the capabilities of the second-generation courier system, and today’s third-generation is IPv6 Enhanced Innovation.
IPv6 is Internet Protocol Version 6, a next-generation IP protocol designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to replace IPv4, given that the lack IPv4 addresses could severely limit the application and development of the Internet. The use of IPv6 solves the problem of the number of network address resources and – in relative terms – could assign an IP address to every grain of sand on the planet.
IPv6 Enhanced Innovation is a comprehensive upgrade of IPv6-based network capabilities. It includes the IPv6-based protocol and IPv6+AI, which comprises the SRv6 protocol, network analysis, intelligent tuning, and other intelligent network technologies. IPv6 Enhanced Innovation realizes features such as intelligent path planning, service speed opening, O&M automation, quality visualization, SLA assurance, and application perception. ETSI defined these in the IPv6 White Paper released in August 2020.
IPv6 Enhanced Innovation boosts IP network capabilities in six dimensions:
- ubiquitous connectivity
- ultra-high bandwidth
- low latency
- deterministic quality
Each of these features was defined by ETSI in the Gap Analysis report released in August 2021.
Within the IPv6-based “courier system”, each user has their own identity and the courier can directly deliver the parcel to the user’s apartment. The building’s doorman is no longer required for secondary delivery, reducing the risk of package loss and simplifying the process. Thus, the IPv4 private address and NAT functions are no longer needed.
The second major improvement in IPv6 is upgraded “courier wrappers”. The IPv6 packet header is longer and can record more content and information, so we can put more labels on “courier packages” to identify the attributes of the goods in the carton, like heavy, fragile, and urgent.
The courier system can quickly determine the services required for this delivery package, for example, priority or to be handled with care. Delivery companies can provide more refined services for different customers according to the information displayed on the package and adopt differentiated charging standards. They also have a high-quality route available that can provide an exclusive priority channel for high-end users.
Similarly, IPv6 Enhanced Innovation improves IPv6 capabilities. It can accurately identify IPv6 packet attributes and provide corresponding services. This helps carriers better understand the data status of the entire network and better allocate resources.
1. Upgraded navigation capabilities
The transport path of traditional “courier system” is relatively fixed and rigid. From the start point to the end point, the transport vehicle passes each intersection, deciding the way ahead by best effort.
By combining IPv6, SR (Segment Routing) and SDN (Software Defined Network) technology, optimal path planning can be performed. When the package departs, it has obtained the best route from the start point to the end point from the management center. Each route is selected to avoid congestion or detours. The powerful path orchestration capability greatly improves overall efficiency.
2. Dedicated channels for services
IPv6 can be combined with a network slicing technology to open a dedicated channel for key services on the road. For example, if requirements for high-granularity video transmission from place A to place B are high, a private line for large-granularity video services can be established to better meet the transmission requirements of them all.
Using our express courier metaphor, let’s imagine high demand from multiple customers for moving seafood from point A to B. The express company will purchase more cold-chain trucks to follow this route to boost profits.
3. Upgraded network O&M capabilities
Centralized management can easily convert configuration intentions into scripts and automatically deploy them at each network node. After AI is introduced, fault symptoms can be automatically analyzed and the causes can be found more quickly. The system can learn fault models and proactively identify potential network fault risks in advance to prevent accidents.
Centralized management + AI management greatly simplifies network maintenance, improves O&M efficiency, and reduces maintenance costs.
4. Upgraded security
On traditional networks, IPv4 addresses are scarce, resulting in a large number of private networks where malicious behaviors are difficult to trace.
With an integrated defense comprising cloud and network, IPv6 Enhanced Innovation networks can replace private addresses with public addresses, so that every package transported in the courier system has true and traceable sender information.
Without the opaque behavior of the private network, malicious behaviors will be discovered and prevented. The upgraded express packaging (data packet structure) also greatly increases the difficulty for bad actors to tamper with or eavesdrop on packages, enhancing security and privacy.
IPv6 Enhanced Innovation will enable a high-speed, efficient, flexible, and intelligent next-gen Internet. It can provide differentiated service capabilities to meet the requirements of applications and adapt to the service requirements of different industries, and support the digital transformation of each industry. It enables the Internet upgrade to industrial Internet and can underpin the development of the entire digital economy.
The digital transformation and digital economy in Europe and the world are underway. What role will IPv6 Enhanced Innovation play in this? Register for the 2022 MWC Barcelona IPv6 Summit on February 28, 14:30-16:00 (Barcelona time) where analysts, industry, and business experts will explore the topic in depth.
Read more about the technical comparison of IPv4 and IPv6.
Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.