Fremont, California January 30, 2002 - Hurricane Electric, a leading Technical Service Provider, has recently announced the upgrade of their IPv6 tunnel broker, an automated service that allows computers to connect to the IPv6 Internet, the next generation Internet addressing protocol, over existing IPv4 connections.
For the past 9 months, Hurricane Electric has offered the free tunnel broker to the public through their website, http://tunnelbroker.net, to increase the use and progression of IPv6, a 128-bit addressing system which, experts say, will eventually replace the current 32-bit addressing system, IPv4.
Since the inception of the tunnel broker, Hurricane Electric has created over 900 accounts, which facilitated the necessity for an upgrade.
Along with a new interface, the tunnel broker also shows traffic of current tunnels via a MRTG graph. A Multi Router Traffic Grapher (MRTG) is a tool to monitor the traffic load on network links. MRTG generates HTML pages containing graphical images that show a real time visual representation of the traffic.
To reduce abuse of the tunnels, Hurricane Electric affixed a 12-hour waiting period before activating an account. The waiting period was put in place to deter hackers or "script kiddies" from creating a tunnel to take over IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channels. Hurricane Electric also added an authentication process and password encryption for better security.
The American Registry of Internet Numbers, ARIN, has allocated Hurricane Electric a /35 IPv6 address block, which is equal to 10 trillion trillion addresses, making them one of only 16 companies in North America to receive such an allotment. Hurricane Electric was also allocated a /28 (a million trillion trillion addresses) IPv6 address block from the 6bone, a test bed for IPv6 development.
Peering with over 50 autonomous systems in the 6bone, Hurricane Electric has built a network of international native IPv6 routes in order for their customers to access the future of Internet addressing far ahead of other businesses. Hurricane Electric's IPv6 connection is currently connected at three major Network Access Points (NAPs); Ameritech in Chicago, IL, PAIX in Palo Alto, CA and NYIIX in New York, NY.
IPv4, which was deployed in 1981 to designate static numbers to networks in the dawn of the Internet, has only 4 billion addresses available. The number of remaining IPv4 addresses has drastically fallen due to new developments, such as Internet capable PDA's and cell phones. Currently, over half of all IPv4 addresses have already been allocated to companies around the world.
With IPv6, the number of addresses drastically increases to over 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses, enough for each person in the world to be allocated 1 billion personal IP addresses.
Deployment of IPv6 has been pushed to the forefront in Europe and Asia, which were allocated far less IPv4 addresses than the United States. Stanford University was allocated 17 million IPv4 addresses while the entire Republic of China was only given 9 million addresses.
IPv6 will enable all devices, such as cell phones, PDA's, televisions, and even refrigerators and other household appliances to have their own IP address instead of sharing off of a larger network. Eventually, this will make way for a refrigerator to automatically order groceries at any given time from an online vendor.
According to experts from the 6bone, IPv6 and IPv4 will more than likely coexist for some time before all addresses are switched over to the more efficient IPv6 system.
By 2005, an estimated 1 billion people will be using the Internet. This does not take into account the 200 percent annual increase of cell phones and other mobile device users, according to the United States Internet Council.