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GLOBAL – Today is World IPv6 Day, celebrating and spreading knowledge of the new IPv6 standard for identifying locations on the Net and the devices attached to it. If ‘IPv6’ just looks like a string of meaningless letters and numbers to you, then here’s why it matters and what Nokia is doing to help IPv6 succeed.

Until recent years, communications and technology companies have been using IPv4 to address servers and user devices. IPv4 allows for just over four billion possible addresses. But the numbers are running out, with the steady flow of the next billion people connecting to the Net. Already, important Internet organizations such as the IANA and the APNIC that hand out IPv4 addresses to operators have exhausted their allotted pools of IPv4 addresses. Entire regions of the world have no more addresses available. It is now time for important and concerted effort to switch to the new system, IPv6, which has a humongous address space of approximately 3.4*1038 addresses.

Global deployment of IPv6 is crucial for connecting the next billion people to the Internet, and today is indeed a great milestone on that path.

Nokia has been working with IPv6 standardisation and development activities since the birth of IPv6 in the 90s. Nokia has carried IPv6 support on Symbian-based devices since 2004, helping many mobile operators to conduct IPv6 trials and build-up their networks’ IPv6 capabilities. Today, Symbian devices have really good IPv6 support for 3G and GSM access and thus are the ones that operators most often use to set-up their IPv6 cellular networks.

Smartphones aside, there is a large segment of devices which have been traditionally used for voice and SMS services and generally not apt for Internet access. However, these have evolved and now offer many of the basic Internet services such a web browsing, email access and instant messaging capabilities.

That’s one important reason for the development of the Ovi Browser for S40 devices, currently in beta. The browser is designed to work using an intermediary server, or proxy, operated by Nokia. This proxy server cuts out unnecessary data, slimming the pages down for mobile devices. This allows for lower data charges and a smooth experience, even where bandwidth is limited. So that’s good news for users.

It’s also good news for carriers and the Internet. The browser on the phone can conduct all its web transfers using IPv6, even if the sites the users are interacting with only use IPv4. The proxy automatically translates the data between the two protocols as it works.

This means that with the IPv6 enabled Ovi Browser, operators can offer a first-rate Net experience to the next billion users in a way that is both economically attractive as well as technically robust. The operators only need IPv6 resources for this segment of their web users.

In addition to Symbian and the Ovi Browser mentioned above, Nokia has been making steady progress building fully IPv6 capable devices for quite some time now and will continue to do so with our future devices and platforms. The time for IPv6 is very soon.

For further reading, there’s a document about Nokia’s views on IPv6 transition on Forum Nokia.

In the meantime, how will you be celebrating IPv6 day?

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