IPv6 Enhanced – boosting the digital economy

IPv6 enhanced summit
Ping WU, CTO of Huawei Datacom Product Line European Branch

On April 4, 2022, the IPv6 Summit themed “IPv6 Enhanced, Boosting the Digital Economy” and hosted by Informa Tech was held during MPLS, SD & AI Net World Congress 2022 in Paris, France. Representatives from organizations and enterprises such as the ETSI, ARCEP France, IETF, EANTC, Bouygues Telecom France, Telefonica Group, Post Luxembourg, MTN, OMDIA, and Huawei delivered keynote speeches centered on how IPv6 Enhanced unleashes the potential of connectivity and accelerates the development of the digital economy.

Mr Sameer Ashfaq Malik, Senior Principal Analyst from Omdia, gave the opening speech. He said that in today’s world with a population of over 7 billion, the number of IP-capable devices increases sharply. With IPv4 supporting only 4.3 billion IP addresses, another solution is clearly needed. However, addressing exhaustion is not the only issue. The trillion-dollar B2B vertical industry market now needs full connectivity. IPv6 Enhanced provides differentiated service capabilities to implement high-speed, efficient, flexible, and intelligent next-generation Internet, meeting industry interconnection requirements in the digital era.

Later, Mr Latif Ladid, Chairman of the ETSI IPE Alliance, delivered a video speech themed “IPv6 Enhanced Powers Digitization and Innovation”. He said that IPv6 is developing rapidly and that countries have placed more importance on IPv6 and enacted policies to promote the development of IPv6 globally. The ETSI IPE Alliance is actively promoting IPv6 development and innovation, with more than 80 members at present. This alliance defined IPv6 Enhanced in 2020. In 2021, it fully explored the value of IPv6 Enhanced in various scenarios, such as 5G, cloud, and data center, and systematically proposed IPv6 Enhanced innovations from six dimensions: ultra-high bandwidth, ubiquitous connectivity, automation, low latency, deterministic quality, and security. SRv6, as the core of IPv6 Enhanced, propels IPv6 innovations to new heights and can fully unleash the potential of connectivity. Finally, Mr Latif Ladid said that all industry parties are welcome to join the IPE Alliance to jointly promote IPv6 development globally.

IPv6 is seeing widespread adoption around the world. At the summit, Mr Jean-Charles Bisecco, an IPv6 Task Force expert from ARCEP, introduced the IPv6 development situation in France. He believes that the uptake of IPv6 is driven by multiple factors, including policies, network status, and service development. Currently, IPv6 adoption is ramping up in France. Under the guidance of policies and regulators, it is estimated that by 2024, more than two in three terminals will use IPv6, and more than 90% of operator fixed networks will use IPv6. The IPv6 Task Force of ARCEP believes that encouraging enterprises to migrate to IPv6 is the most pressing task. For this reason, the IPv6 Task Force releases and updates guidance documents every year to help enterprises migrate to IPv6. At the summit, Mr Jean-Charles Bisecco released Businesses: How to Deploy IPv6, a document aimed at helping enterprise IT teams understand their IPv6 requirements and plan and deploy IPv6 accordingly. He finished by pointing out that dedicated protocols and SRv6 are essential to the future development of IPv6.

The development of standards is critical to the development of IPv6 and IPv6 innovations. Mr Zhenbin Li, an IETF IAB member, delivered a speech titled “Progress of IPv6 Enhanced Standard and Industry” at the summit. He briefly introduced the IPv6 Enhanced technology system and its development status. He emphasized that IPv6 innovations are a growing trend in the global network field. We can divide the development of IPv6 Enhanced standards into three phases: 1.0 focusing on basic SRv6 capabilities, 2.0 focusing on 5G/cloud-oriented new network services, and 3.0 focusing on the APN architecture. To sum up, Zhenbin Li introduced the latest standards development of technologies such as SRv6.

Mr Carsten Rossenhövel, Managing Director and Co-Founder, EANTC AG, delivered a speech titled “Industry Update on SRv6 Technology & Interoperability” at the summit. He first introduced that EANTC focuses on professional testing of innovative telecommunications technologies, adheres to the highest quality standards, and actively participates in the standardization of test methods.

EANTC focuses on new technologies such as SDN, NETCONF, Segment Routing, EVPN, Flexible Algorithm, FlexE, and organizes multi-vendor interoperability tests, including Cisco, Huawei, Juniper, and Nokia. EANTC is an advanced provider of bearer network interoperability test solutions. SRv6 has a promising future. EANTC has completed a multi-vendor SRv6 joint test, which fully proves the operability of SRv6 in large-scale networking. EANTC has released a report based on the test results. EANTC believes that SRv6 is “ready for prime time”.

Operators play a key role in IPv6 development, and network infrastructure is the foundation for IPv6 development. At this IPv6 summit, four operators introduced their experience in IPv6 and SRv6 deployment and development from different perspectives.

Mr François Bouju, IP Backbone Network Architect of Bouygues Telecom, delivered a speech titled “IPv6 Evolution Experience Sharing”. He mentioned that Bouygues Telecom, as one of the top 3 operators in France, provides both mobile and fixed network services. In addition, it has deployed a fiber network covering all key nodes in France. Bouygues Telecom has witnessed rapid IPv6 development in recent years, with its fixed networks due to be IPv6-only networks in two years, and its mobile networks following suit in the future.

Mr Luis Miguel Contreras Murillo, Technology Expert at Global CTIO unit, Telefónica, delivered a speech titled “SRv6 and IETF Network Slices”. He said that SRv6 is the target solution as a unified transport mechanism in operational networks. SRv6 network programming allows specifying a packet processing program by encoding a sequence of instructions in the IPv6 packet header. Then, he introduced the IETF Network Slice and SRv6 for the realization of IETF Network Slices. Finally, he concluded that first, operational networks will evolve to SRv6 because of the flexibility provided, using a uniform way of delivering traffic, including TE capabilities, second, network slicing will be the new norm of providing tailored services by service providers for external and internal customers; third, it is necessary to define proper and scalable manners of supporting network slices leveraging on SRv6 as a natural evolution of existing services.

Mr Carlo Richartz, Fixed Network Director of Post Luxembourg, gave a speech titled “Thinking and Practice of IPv6 Enhanced”. He noted that Post, as the largest postal, telecom, philatelic, and financial service provider in Luxembourg, is committed to IPv6 Enhanced innovation and practice in the telecom field and aims to build a 2027-oriented target network based on IPv6/SRv6. It deploys 400GE network interfaces to meet service growth needs and uses new technologies such as SRv6, slicing, and IFIT to guarantee the SLAs of B2B services. It also simplifies protocols and introduces AI to reduce OPEX.

Mr Calvin Govender, General Manager of Fixed Line Technology Services from MTN, shared MTN’s experience in IPv6 Enhanced-based intelligent cloud-network construction. He noted that South Africa has a huge market space — occupying 65% of the African cloud market. Cloud-based network development will help MTN seize the cloud market. MTN has built the world’s first IPv6 Enhanced-based intelligent cloud network using the CAASI framework, enabling the network to access multiple clouds over one connection and provide one-stop services and deterministic service quality. This lays a solid foundation for MTN’s cloud service development in South Africa.

Mr Daniel Wu, CTO of Huawei Datacom Product Line European Branch, delivered a speech titled “IPv6 Enhanced, Unleashing Connectivity Potential”. He said that digitalization has swept across the world and enabled digital transformation of various industries. But none of this would be possible without IP networks. IP networks play a pivotal role in connecting all things and applications, as they connect to all things at one end and a myriad of service applications at the other end. At the same time, digitalization poses new requirements for IP network development. IPv6 becomes increasingly important with the emergence of new requirements. IPv6 Enhanced comprehensively improves network capabilities based on IPv6. It not only drives innovation and entrepreneurship, digital economy transformation, science & technology development, and economic growth in the post-pandemic era but also plays an important role in the digitalization of numerous industries.

At the end of the IPv6 Summit, moderator Mr Sameer Ashfaq Malik summed up by saying that IPv6 adoption is inevitable and will lay a solid foundation for the digital economy of tomorrow, A global sense of urgency around IPv6 and IPv6 enhanced enabled technologies is imperative for solving network problems in the digital era.

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