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Education is one of the key elements for the successful deployment and maintenance of new technologies and associated products. First, IPv6 deployment started in the mid-1990s with the experimental 6Bone network, meaning years of experiences are now available from and for the networking community. People working on IPv6 should leverage the work done within the 6Bone project; however, because technology, policies, and implementations evolved over the nearly 10 years of 6Bone’s existence, it is important to maintain a time perspective when evaluating its deliverables. In the meantime, multiple other projects have been started that have generated a tremendous amount of information about the technology, its deployment, and operation. To help you navigate through this sea of resources, here is a basic and nonexhaustive classification of good material:
The 6Bone is an IPv6 test bed and a worldwide informal collaborative project started in the middle of the 1990s. The 6Bone started as a virtual network (using IPv6 over IPv4 tunneling/encapsulation) operating over the IPv4-based Internet to support IPv6 transport, then migrated to native links for IPv6 transport. It will be phased-out in June 2006. The initial 6Bone focus was on testing standards and implementations; the current focus is more on testing the transition and operational procedures. The 6Bone operates under the IPv6 Testing Address Allocation (see RFC 2471).
IPv6 Forum (http://www.ipv6forum.com)
A worldwide consortium of leading Internet vendors, National Research Networks (NRNs), and ISPs are shaping the IPv6 Forum, with a clear mission to promote IPv6 by dramatically improving the market and user awareness of IPv6. Global and regional IPv6 Forum summits are regularly hosted in member countries, meetings that usually provide educational opportunities.
IPv6 Task Force (http://www.ipv6tf.org)
Regional and national IPv6 task forces have been created all over the world. They offer an opportunity for local industry, education, and government agencies to shape the adoption of IPv6 in their own region. The main IPv6 Task Force website provides a list of links to the local task forces:
- North America (http://www.nav6tf.org)
- Europe (http://www.ipv6tf.org/meet/tf/eutf.php)
- Japan (http://www.v6pc.jp/en/index.html)
Other significant IPv6 projects
To develop the IPv6 awareness and disseminate experience within the networking community, several large regional projects are being run or have been run over the years. Their work groups have delivered tens of documents that are an important source of training. For example:
- 6DISS (http://www.6diss.org)
6DISS is a Specific Support Action in the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Union. The project aims to promote widespread adoption of IPv6 by providing IPv6 training and knowledge transfer in developing regions.
- 6NET (http://www.6net.org)
6NET was a three-year European project to demonstrate that continued growth of the Internet can be met using new IPv6 technology. The project built a native IPv6-based network connecting 16 countries to gain experience of IPv6 deployment and migration from existing IPv4-based networks. It concludes by moving IPv6 to full production services for the academic community in Europe.
- Euro6IX (http://www.euro6ix.org)
The goal of the Euro6IX project was to support the rapid introduction of IPv6 among ISPs in Europe. It enabled several SP R&D departments to collaborate.
- Moonv6 (http://moonv6.sr.unh.edu)
The Moonv6 project is a global effort led by the North American IPv6 Task Force (NAv6TF) involving universities, Internet2, vendors, service providers, and regional IPv6 Forum Task Force network pilots worldwide. Taking place across the United States at multiple locations, the Moonv6 project is a large, permanently deployed multivendor IPv6 network.
- Network exchange points for IPv6 (http://www.napv6.net)
A site with a list of several IPv6 exchanges known worldwide.
Dedicated IPv6 websites
Several websites are dedicated to the promotion, education, and smooth adoption of IPv6. To start with, you could access the following sites:
- Caida (http://www.caida.org)
- IPv6.org (http://www.ipv6.org)
- IPv6 Style (http://www.ipv6style.jp/en/index.shtml)
- Sixxs (http://www.sixxs.net)
The growing interest in IPv6 led to emerging commercial offerings for IPv6 training and consulting services. For example, Cisco has developed a suite of IPv6 Accelerate series:
IPv6 Foundations (Introduction to IPv6, e-Learning)
Designing & Deploying IPv6 Networks (Advanced IPv6, five-day instructor-led session (ILS) or e-Learning, integrated remote labs)
IPv6 Security (e-Learning)
ILS is available through Cisco Learning Partners. Partners with a certain status can directly access most of the e-Learning on the Partner e-Learning Connection (PEC). The material is generally available to customers at a fee via the Cisco Learning Connection (CLC).
In addition, Cisco Networking Academy and Networker programs now include a series of IPv6 modules.
As often in the IT industry, consulting firms are also ready to be engaged on IPv6 deployment projectsfor example, Cisco Advanced Networking Services has developed a set of IPv6 services for customers.
Remember that training can represent an important investment in the overall project. An enterprise or ISP educating a large staff will need a budget. That budget can range from low, in the case of reading and e-Learning, to high, for ILS. For example, at $1000 per person per class, the training expenses can quickly add up. A large enterprise or ISP can reduce this cost by applying a "train a trainer" strategy, where a couple of senior people train the internal team after attending relevant classes.
With the guidelines described in this section, network and service planners can take the steps necessary to estimate the cost of deploying and operating IPv6 services in their network. Most important, however, these steps enable them to plan their equipment and software license purchasing policies. Through the regular, scheduled infrastructure upgrades, they can increase at a lower cost the network readiness for the IP upgrade.
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