Sprint is a leading provider of IPv6 deployment services with a proven track record spanning 20 years. As a General Services Administration (GSA) telecommunications provider, Sprint has established a strong reputation for innovation and for providing secure solutions. To federal agencies, Sprint offers interoperability and the ability to effect a smooth transition to the IPv6 platform through an integrated approach – providing the necessary upgrades in enterprise architectures, ensuring the smooth coordination of diverse technologies and networks, to ensure uninterrupted communication in the new scheme of things. With federal agencies slated to go live with IPv6 by 30th June 2008, Sprint has a lead role to play in making the process move forward as planned.
Sprint has been engaged in the task of experimenting with IPv6 adoption even as of 1997, and has made major contributions toward standardization, testing, and deployment of IPv6. As a part of the initial spadework, RFC2772 was written by Sprint framing rules relating to the routing policy guidelines for IPv6 on the 6Bone, although the 6bone was eventually phased by June 2006. By all indications, Sprint is set to deploy the next generation IPv6 which is expected to cater to a wide range of devices and applications including mobile Internet access over the coming years. Sprint is leveraging its vast experience and expertise to deliver a wide spectrum of IPv6 services and plans to undertake beta testing of IPv6 MPLS VPNs on its dedicated Peerless IP (PIP) network. They plan to launch customer trials by early 2008, and may go public by Q2 of 2008.
Sprint Products & Services
Currently, Sprint offers a variety of IP-based services and is on an innovation path to expand its offerings alongside the evolution and deployment of IPv6 in the public domain. Sprint’s services will include Dedicated IP, MPLS VPN, Managed Network Services, and Consulting services, and will focus on making Federal agencies IPv6-ready in time to meet the approaching deadline. Tony D’Agata, VP of Federal Sales for Sprint, says that Sprint’s PIP network has the competitive edge amongst similar service providers offering IPv6 services to governmental agencies, and more specifically so, because this unique network helps to a large extent popular in reducing incidents of denial of service.
Sprint has entered into the Networx Enterprise contract for delivering IPv6 services to its federal customers and will continue to add to its repertoire of services as they are progressively ready for IPv6 planning and transition support.
D’Agata says: “Sprint is focused on a convergence strategy; as we move to a common infrastructure to deliver video, voice and data over our Global IP network we will continue to look for opportunities to use IPv6. With the growth of applications and Internet usage worldwide, availability of IP addresses has become strained. IPv6 is expected to expand addressing, add an additional level of security, foster network efficiencies and accommodate application growth. Our Federal customers are leading that transition.”
IPv6 is the new Internet protocol that supports the full range of wireless, wireline and converged IP network architectures and lends itself to a number of applications for use by federal agencies as well as private customers who want mobility across platforms and devices. In many cases, contractual delays have hampered the implementation of IPv6, and a number of agencies are still using legacy technologies like ATM or Frame Relay, which means they will have to make a major overhaul of their network environment.
The Sprint Route to IPv6 Deployment
In the endeavor to provide a robust IPv6 service to customers, Sprint intends to run a dual stack using both versions of IP as the ideal way to assist both government and commercial entities to make the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. IPv6 routers are stand-alone boxes. The IPv6 backbone is similar to the IPv4 SprintLink backbone, but with Hex addresses GRE tunneling is used between IPv6 routers over the SprintLink (IPv4) infrastructure. Tunnels from the customer to Sprint’s IPv6 backbone would use one of the routers in AS6175 as a tunnel destination. Sprint uses an iBGP full-mesh between IPv6 routers in AS6175. There are no dynamic protocol-level interactions with the IPv4 network (SprintLink; AS1239). The Interior Gateway Protocol (IGP) used by Sprint is ISIS
Sprint DNS Services for IPv6
Sprintv6.net also provides DNS, forward and reverse services, free of charge for IPv6 to their customers in addition to Internet connectivity and IPv6 address space. While delegating prefixes, Sprint ascertains the hostname of their customers’ IPv6 DNS server, so they can delegate that zone down to the particular customer.
Connecting customers to Sprint’s IPv6 backbone
Customers wanting to gain connectivity to Sprint’s IPv6 network, will have to provide these details to Sprint to enable them set up the IPv6 connection:
- The specific router in Sprint’s IPv6 network that has the best IPv4 connectivity to customer’s network
- The IPv4 source address of the tunnel connection
- Customer’s preference for IPv6IP or GRE encapsulation on their tunnel
- Static routing or BGP? If static, the specified block(s) to route to; If BGP, then customer’s ASN to be provided
- Blocks they will announce to Sprint
- Whether transit or non-transit service is desired
- The type of IPv6 machine that is terminating the tunnel
- The hostname of the customer’s DNS server that they wish their reverse zone delegated down to.
The Sprint to IPv6 By Sean Michael Kerner December 27, 2007
Next Generation Internet Protocol Deployment Expected to Increase Efficiencies and Accommodate Application Growth