The Internet Protocol (IP), is one of the pillars of the Internet. It is the one responsible for addressing hosts and routing datagrams from a source to a destination host across one or more IP networks. Thus, IP sets an addressing system which has two (2) functions: a) identifying hosts; and b) providing logical location service. Said functions are accomplished by defining standard datagrams and addressing system.
The IP version 4 (IPv4), which is the first major version of IP, is the dominant IP. However, according to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), IPv4 officially depleted on 03 February 2011. With the rise in the number of gadgets and users, the old system of addressing networked devices became exhausted which could impede the growth and development of Internet-based services. Hence, a new IP was designed to respond to the current problem of internet address exhaustion – the IP version 6 (IPv6). With the IPv6 on the horizon, its implementation has become a high priority among all organizations, whether big or small, local or foreign.
As part of a research community, DOST-ASTI’s experience on IPv6 deployment started at the end of 1999 with a small testbed network. In 2000, this testbed became connected to the former 6Bone Project and eventually, the DOST-ASTI got its own IPv6 block, which was 2001:d18::/32, managed by its Philippine Research, Education and Government Information Network (PREGINET).
IPv6 infrastructure in research and education networks (RENs)
APAN is designed to be a high-performance network for research and development on advanced next generation applications and services. It provides an advanced networking environment for the research and education community in the Asia-Pacific region, and promotes global collaboration. PREGINET’s connection to APAN was given by the Japanese Government via grant, and was terminated in the APAN-JP hub located in Japan. This link provides a 155Mbps access from any incoming and outgoing traffic.
On the other hand, TEIN is another REN which provides a dedicated high-capacity Internet network for research and education communities across Asia-Pacific. The PREGINET is connected to one of TEIN’s hubs, particularly, that of located in HongKong, via 45Mbps link. IPv6 is supported in both RENs and is in operation and used for quite some time, as a testament to IPv6′s stability in production environment.
PREGINET services on IPv6
IPv6 is a value-added service provided by the PREGINET to an organization that connects to it. Large government or academic networks are given their own /64 or /48 subnet block. Peering, via BGP, is likewise done for networks which have their own ASNumbers and allocated address blocks (both IPv4 and IPv6). Once a PREGINET partner enabled IPv6 on its own network, it could already deploy its own services via IPv6.
While the PREGINET offers basic services like web-hosting and DNS management over IPv4 and IPv6 Internet, it also serves as a medium for high-definition (HD) video streaming and videoconferencing activities. Further, workshops using HD video streaming has been continuously conducted, remotely, by organizations like APAN, Asian Institute of Technology and the DOST-ASTI.
The Executive Order (EO) No. 893
In light of PREGINET’s continuing advocacy in promoting IPv6, the Office of the President issued Executive Order (EO) No. 893 on 29 June 2010 pushing for the use of IPv6. Subject issuance pursues “the policy of adapting and promoting IPv6 technology for national benefit,” since the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses is threatening to impede the growth and development of the government’s Internet-based services. Government services that may be affected by the exhaustion of IP addresses include health care, national security, public safety, education, environment, among others.
Subsequently, the implementing rules and regulations of said EO was released, directing the DOST-ASTI to assist government agencies to achieve smooth interoperability testings of IPv4 and IPv6 infrastructure and systems.
PREGINET and its trainings on IPv6
In outspreading the use of IPv6 in the Philippines, the PREGINET Team conducted a number of trainings and conferences for IPv6 major stakeholders, who come from the academe and government and private sectors. As part of technology transfer, the PREGINET partnered with several organizations in steering trainings. Aside from trainings, the PREGINET Team also attended several conferences in which they served as resource speakers for IPv6.
Through PREGINET’s continuing effort, many organizations are already IPv6-enabled including the Court of Appeals, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the League of Provinces in the Philippines, the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Office of the President, the Philippine Science High School, the University of the Philippines, among others.
To date, the PREGINET is looking forward to expanding IPv6 adoption, while aiming to increase its impact by providing solutions, which would allow more efficient online services, specifically, in government operations.