December 29, 2004 3:15 PM PST

China launches largest IPv6 network

China aims to become the leading player in the creation of the next generation of the Internet with the launch of an Internet Protocol version 6-based network linking 25 universities in 20 cities across China.

The China Education and Research Network Information Center (CERNIC) announced the Saturday launch of the network--called CERNET2--which is thought to be the largest single IPv6 network created. CERNIC claimed it makes China a world leader in the race to build the next generation of the Internet.

IPv6 exponentially increases the number of possible Internet protocol (IP) addresses. It was created and deployed in response to the fear that the existing Internet address pool could run dry within a few years as more people go online, especially as Web use in Asia rises sharply.

IPv4, the incumbent Internet protocol standard, gives its data packets just 32 bits of address space. By increasing this to 128 bits, IPv6 provides billions more IP addresses and allows many more devices to be simultaneously linked to the Internet.

Many network operators and equipment vendors are pushing IPv6. However, most companies have been reluctant to spend the money needed to make their networks IPv6-compatable by upgrading IP stacks on network gear, applications, PCs and servers.

Some have said that techniques such as network address translation, which lets up to 257 nodes in a corporation sit behind a single IP address, mean it is possible to work around IPv4's limitations.

China's National Development Reform Commission has set aside 1.4bn yuan ($169 million) to support six next-generation Internet networks, according to People's Daily , China's main daily newspaper. Half of it will be used on projects linked to the university network, with the remaining money given to five telecom operators.

China is not the only Asian country with a strong interest in IPv6. Japan has already implemented an IPv6 production network, which is used by every service provider in the country. South Korea is working with the EU to develop applications and services using IPv6.

Some experts have predicted that once China has embraced IPv6, Western countries that wish to do business with Asia will have to upgrade their own networks.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London. ZDNet UK's Graeme Wearden contributed to this report.

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Incorrect
"Some have said that techniques such as network address translation, which lets up to 257 nodes in a corporation sit behind a single IP address"

I have no idea where the number 257 came from, but it is not correct. You are limited only by the number of ports, which would around 64,000. (Though, 64,000 would be quite a lot)
Posted by (2 comments )
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257 nodes
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Posted by Al Johnsons (157 comments )
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Incorrect information
The following statement is absolutely incorrect.

"Some have said that techniques such as network address translation, which lets up to 257 nodes in a corporation sit behind a single IP address, mean it is possible to work around IPv4's limitations."

Corporations are not limited to '257' nodes behind a single IP address. I have no idea where you got 257...

A 24 bit subnet using private addressing (RFC1918) can be network-address-translated (NAT) behind one public IP address, resulting in about 253 usable addresses (256 is the max for a 24 bit subnet, a few of which are reserved). Although, corporations are not limited to using a single /24 subnet, they can use private addressing to subnet as they choose which can allow them to have tens of thousands, or even millions, of private addresses behind one public IP address.
Posted by (2 comments )
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True, but not millions
Very true, thanks for backing me up. However, the part about millions behind 1 address has the potential to cause problems. True enough, the private 10.0.0.0 will give you 16 million addresses, but you can't really NAT them all to one real address. See, we are really using NAPT, or what Cisco likes to call PAT. (Port address translation) As I remember, every private address needs a port above 1024 on the real address. I suppose it could work, as long as less than 64,000 of those 1 million people use the Internet at one time. And each one of them could only do one thing on the Internet. Keep in mind, some things take more, such as FTP. (Note  I'm speaking only in terms of TCP connections. UDP has it's own 64,000 so DNS queries and whatnot use them instead)
Posted by (2 comments )
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Leader for Next Generation Internet?
What about the Abilene Internet2 Network? The Abilene network connects over 200+ universities and runs at 10gigabits/sec. Just having 25 connections doesnt make you the leader. Anybody have any idea what speed is for the China network? As with the IPv6 the Abilene started out as IPv4 and has done large amounts of testing to work the bugs out of IPv6. They were planning to convert to IPv6 but I dont know where they stand at in doing that if they havent done it already and kept quiet about it.

I just dont see how you can consider yourself a leader just on the fact that it is IPv6 with minimal locations connected. I would say that since they didnt mention the speed of the network that it is nothing major maybe topping out around 2.4gigabits/sec.
Posted by ShawnEddy (2 comments )
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I am from China and the Internet is extremely slow. It is supposedly 2mbps but usually it is 1 mbps for sites in china and 100 kbps for sites in America. I don't trust Chinese technology.
Posted by mengqi062488 (6 comments )
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Well, the advertised speed would be the maximum connection speed you would be able to get for a connection between your computer and the ISP's router. From there upstream the speeds decline naturally. But I agree that it's a big lie. Like sticking the label "broadband" to an inferior connection.

I made a traceroute from my computer in Santiago to a well-known server in China. No major problems there, you may interpret it as you like.

traceroute to alibaba.cn (60.190.232.1), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
- The following IPs are here in Chile.
1 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1) 0.747 ms 0.830 ms 0.945 ms
2 [our router - DELETED]
3 200.55.210.62 (200.55.210.62) 3.222 ms 3.285 ms 3.348 ms
4 CORE-INT-1.gtdinternet.com (200.75.0.66) 82.847 ms 82.922 ms 82.984 ms

- The following is at a backbone operator in USA.
5 GigabitEthernet1-2.ar2.SCL1.gblx.net (64.208.26.9) 15.737 ms 15.788 ms 15.937 ms
6 64.208.110.142 (64.208.110.142) 135.678 ms 251.496 ms 134.734 ms

- Now we have reached the Great Firewall of China.
7 202.97.51.21 (202.97.51.21) 300.976 ms 301.041 ms 301.104 ms
8 202.97.33.157 (202.97.33.157) 422.280 ms 422.335 ms *
9 202.97.43.182 (202.97.43.182) 324.855 ms 325.058 ms 325.121 ms

- To Hangzhou
10 220.191.128.118 (220.191.128.118) 324.679 ms 324.730 ms 324.872 ms
11 61.174.64.142 (61.174.64.142) 342.568 ms 342.628 ms 342.661 ms
12 220.191.129.114 (220.191.129.114) 355.295 ms 329.833 ms 332.692 ms
13 60.190.240.242 (60.190.240.242) 323.813 ms 220.191.133.42 (220.191.133.42) 324.262 ms 60.190.240.242 (60.190.240.242) 323.928 ms

- Finally we reach our target, Alibaba. There's no reason to go further.
14 121.0.17.237 (121.0.17.237) 323.841 ms 324.152 ms 324.311 ms
Posted by Locoluis1978 (1 comment )
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