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IPv6: World's Largest Technology Upgrade On Deck

Bugs, spam, viruses, software security issues, quality of service and more have spurred experts to push for commercial deployment and government reform on Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

A panel battled the topic of when companies should deploy IPv6 and where the technology will make the greatest impact. The discussion took place at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas last week. In the end, the four panelists agreed to disagree. But all said companies should examine methods to ease future deployments, such as planning a transition and making certain future hardware and software purchases are IPv6 ready.

IPv6, the latest version of Internet Protocol, provides more IP addresses than today's version 4. It supports auto-configuration to help correct most shortcomings in the current version, and has security, quality of service, digital rights management and mobile communications features.

The debate has heated up in the U.S. now that Asian countries are mandating adoption where IP addresses are in short supply. "Let me reiterate how pathetic we are in the U.S.," said Alex Lightman, chief executive and president for IPv6 Summit Inc. "In the U.S., we have between 1,000 to 2,000 IPv6 users, whereas Japan has between 200,000 and 500,000."

The Japanese government estimates the move to IPv6 will create a $1.55 trillion technology market by 2010. Lightman said the U.S. Department of Defense has mandated IPv6, but they've yet to build a network. Rex Wong, chief executive at DAVETV, which delivers Internet-protocol television (IPTV) content to mobile devices, PCs and televisions, believes there are "too many regulations and competitors in the U.S.," slowing adoption.

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