TRAI favors next gen Internet Protocol

By agencies   |   Monday, 29 August 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has suggested overhauling India's Internet backbone to move to the next generation protocol called the IPv6 - Internet Protocol version 6, to facilitate the growth of broadband and Internet services.

In a consultation paper on migrating from the existing standard of IPv4, released on Friday, the telecom regulator has said that the growth of Internet and broadband services would require large amount of IP addresses, which may not be available in the existing version. In addition, the new Internet version is seen as having better security standards, quality of service and supports mobility.

The features of the latest version would enable devices such as mobile phones, personal digital assistance, home appliances and computers to be linked to the Internet. The TRAI move is in addition to the initiative taken by the Government, which has set up an IPv6 Implementation Group (IPIG) to chart out the roadmap to the new Internet version.

For Internet users, the new version would mean more space on the world-wide-web and better security. "The rapid success of Internet, leading to accelerated consumption of IP addresses, has led to the anxiety about shortage of IP addresses in the coming years in the country. So far the Indian industry has not engaged into large-scale deployment of IPv6, and runs the risk of lagging behind in this technology, if immediate steps are not taken," TRAI said in the paper.

Internet service providers, while welcoming the TRAI move, said that a large number of issues such as the cost involved in migrating from the exiting version, needed to be dealt with before moving ahead. They said that the shortage of IP addresses was not as much an immediate concern as a number of other issues such as entry fee and license fee being imposed by the government.

TRAI has also mooted setting up a national registry for managing IP addresses in India. "If the National Registry is created it becomes a single agency to maintain the IP address pool as per the demand and policies of the nation. This can also help allocate the IP addresses in a contiguous manner within the nation to ensure that there is enough aggregation of roots on the backbone."

To enhance the integration of the national networks and increase the operational experience on novel Internet services and applications based on the use of IPv6, there is a need to create a large-scale national production IPv6 test bed similar to the European Geant or the Chinese Next Generation Internet.

The IPv6 backbone may be created by agencies such as Telecom Engineering Center and Centre for Development of Telematics and institutions such as IITs and IISc. The Government may need to provide initial funding for the test beds, TRAI said.

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