IPv6 is the Internet’s next-generation protocol. This is designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force to replace the current Internet Protocol — IP version 4 (IPv4) — to deal with the IPv4 address exhaustion. IPv4, according to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, was officially depleted on 03 February 2011 due to the growing number of users and devices accessing the Internet. Right now, realizing its importance for online operations, the University of the Philippines – Diliman (UPD) has decided to start using this latest IP.
As early as 2000, UPD started its IPv6 implementation with the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute’s (ASTI) Philippine Research, Education and Government and Information Network (PREGINET). “The native IPv6 peering with ASTI started around 2008. It was previously just an experimental IPv6 network connected to the PREGINET via a wireless link,” said Prof. Raymond C. Nuñez, Head of the IPv6 Implementing Team of the UP Computer Center (UPCC).
Despite several accounts from big organizations stating that IPv6 transition is complicated, the IPv6 Implementing Team of the UPCC, surprisingly, did not experience major difficulties during the implementation. In fact, the UPCC only spent a half-day in deploying IPv6 inside UPD, and according to Prof. Nuñez, what they experienced were just basic problems regarding the technology. “The only major obstacle we encountered during the implementation was just the IPv6 itself since the team was not yet that skilled in running this technology in UPD — how to test the reachability on the IP network, how to trace route, how to set an IP address on an interface, how to prioritize v4 and IPv6 traffic, etc.” he shared. Prof. Nuñez also added that the implementing team took a three (3)-day workshop studying the IPv6 deployment strategies before they did the actual deployment, “We just read documentations and then tested it inside our network at the UPCC. We eventually took the dual-stack approach, wherein both IPv4 and IPv6 protocol stacks are running at the same time, on a network. When we found that the first virtual LAN (VLAN) was functional, we then switched on the IPv6 in the remaining VLANs.”
Since the successful IPv6 activation last 07 June 2011, the UPD has not yet encountered any problem — whether it be on equipment, security or cost. “Most of our users don’t even know that we have activated IPv6, and that they are now running on that Internet Protocol,” Prof. Nuñez happily shared.
With the UPD being the institution that has the biggest IPv6 deployment, Prof. Nuñez stated that they now have about 15,000 unique IPv6-enabled devices. With regard to the IPv6 usage, the University currently has an average traffic of 4Mbps that spikes up to 40Mbps from time to time during regular office hours. At night, however, he relayed that there is only about 1Mbps traffic. He also said that they are able to monitor the IPv6’s network utilization even though they are running on dual-stack within the University because they separated the IPv4 and IPv6’s outgoing traffic on different VLANs. That is, all IPv6 traffic goes to one VLAN, and all IPv4 traffic goes to another VLAN.
Initially starting from 10 experimental networks, the UPD now has more than 100 LANs with native IPv6 connectivity.
UPD and Its Efforts in Disseminating IPv6
The University of the Philippines takes pride in being the pioneer in higher education through academic excellence, outstanding research, public service and modernized facilities. Today, UP has seven constituent-universities located in 12 campuses throughout the country. To help propagate the technical knowledge to be at par with the latest trends in the industry, the UPCC had its first IPv6 training last 28 June 2011 at the UPD with UP campuses delegates from Baguio, Cebu, Los Baños, Manila, Mindanao and the Open University. Through this, other UP campuses is expected to start utilizing IPv6 soon as well.