Companies rev up for Internet protocol upgrade

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Companies rev up for Internet protocol upgrade

Microsoft and operating system player Wind River Systems are to support IPv6, the latest version of the internet protocol.

In September, Wind River will ship WindNet IPv6, a collection of IPv6 networking stacks that runs on top of the OS, giving customers a "jump start" on building IPv6-enabled devices, said Glenn Flinchbaugh, director of marketing at Wind River's networks business unit. WindNet IPv6 will also include a TCP/IP stack.

Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to issue a service pack upgrade to Windows XP to add support for the protocol by the autumn. It will also offer native support for IPv6 in Longhorn, the next version of its operating system.

The original version of the upcoming OS includes a development version of the support, said Charmaine Gravning, product manager of Windows at Microsoft.

IPv6 can accommodate trillions of IP addresses and is seen as a much-needed solution for countries where IP addresses are running out, according to Wind River's Flinchbaugh.

The current protocal, IPv4, can accommodate approximately 4 billion unique addresses, but most of those have been allocated to the US, which has a surplus. China, by contrast, has been allocated only 19 million IP addresses for the entire country; Stanford University alone has 17 million, said Eric Mantion, a senior analyst of networking technology at In-Stat/MDR in Scottsdale, Ariz. IPv6's capacity would level the playing field, he added.

With enough IP addresses to go around, any device can have its own fixed address, allowing for widespread sharing of digital media.

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