October 26, 2004 12:55 PM PDT

Wi-Fi gets ready for next-generation Net

Wireless networking equipment makers are getting ready for the next-generation Internet.

On Tuesday, Airespace became the first wireless LAN (local area network) equipment maker to announce support for IPv6, or Internet Protocol version 6, on its products. Other Wi-Fi equipment makers, such as Aruba Wireless Networks, say they will be adding the feature sometime next year.

While IPv6 has become common in the Ethernet switch and routing market, it is only now becoming a requirement in the wireless LAN market.

Until recently, IPv6 support wasn't really needed on Wi-Fi gear, said Alan Cohen, vice president of marketing for Airespace. In the past, most wireless access points simply forwarded traffic upstream to an Ethernet switch or IP router. It was at this point, deep in the network, when devices read the full IP address to forward traffic to its final destination. But as Wi-Fi networking equipment gets more sophisticated with advanced features that track individual users, it's important to support IPv6, Cohen said.

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