Foundry needed to quickly ensure that its IPv6 products would excel in complex networks and interoperate with current and legacy network equipment from diverse manufacturers.
The “IPv6 Ready” program administered by UNH-IOL supplemented Foundry’s own QA efforts by putting Foundry’s products through a battery of trials designed to improve the products’ ability to perform as needed in real-world, multi-vendor deployments.
In achieving the IPv6 Ready Logo, Foundry became the first company to bring to market a router officially recognized as fully capable of running IPv6 at wire speed.
Foundry Networks delivers high-performance network switching, routing, security and network traffic management solutions to more than 8,500 customers, including some of the world's largest service providers, government agencies, high-performance computing sites, universities and enterprises in every field where high-performance computing is important, from e-commerce, entertainment and healthcare to manufacturing and financial institutions. Foundry is also pioneering future-ready solutions for converged nextgeneration networks in areas such as Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6), the successor to the current data transport mechanism that underlies today's networks, including the Internet.
“We found the test procedure administered by UNH-IOL to be rigorous and the level of detail and complexity very thorough. The tests have proved to be very reliable, and working with UNH’s engineering team was very effective.”
Product Line Manager of Service Provider Systems
Foundry wanted to lead the industry in being the first company to bring to market a router officially recognized as fully capable of running IPv6 at wire speed. Foundry also needed to ensure their pioneering IPv6 products would excel in today’s complex networks before debuting them to customers. Foundry turned to the IPv6 Ready Logo Program, a rigorous and uncompromised IPv6 product testing system spearheaded by the IPv6 Forum and administered in North America by the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL).
The “IPv6 Ready Phase-2” status is the most demanding certification obtainable today from the IPv6 Ready program and is based on very strict requirements formulated by the IPv6 Logo Committee (v6LC). In order to achieve this status, a vendor’s equipment must undergo a series of carefully designed thorough test cases that assess the equipment’s level of IPv6 standards compliance and interoperability. All test scenarios must be 100 percent successfully completed for a product to be certified with the “IPv6 Ready” status.
The certification was completed on Foundry’s IronWare chassis system software, which is based on a modular, multi-threaded operating system supported on Foundry’s high end switching and routing systems. These systems include BigIron MG8, BigIron RX Series switches, and NetIron 40G router.
IPv6 is the “next-generation” Internet protocol, expected to replace the current version of the protocol that underlies today’s mainstream networking environment (the current IP version is IPv4; there will be no implementation of IPv5, an experimental protocol abandoned while still in development). Today’s Internet has run on IPv4 for nearly 20 years, resulting in a growing shortage, especially outside North America, of the IP network addresses needed by every new machine added to the Internet, be it PC, laptop, printer, Web cam or mobile phone. The move to IPv6 will result in improved network security, quality of service, routing and configuration processes. In June 2003, the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced their strategy for a complete migration to IPv6 by the year 2008. While migration to the new protocol has been slow in the US, it is commonly believed that that IPv6 will eventually replace IPv4, with the two coexisting for a number of years during a transition period. Currently, IPv6 capability is essential for companies selling IP devices into growth markets outside the U.S., such as Japan.
“IPv6 is a critical component of Foundry’s overall strategic direction,” says Ahmed Abdelhalim, Foundry product line manager of service provider systems. “We have been shipping IPv6 solutions for over two years and this certification demonstrates Foundry’s ongoing commitment to building next generation products that will enable the exciting next phases of the Internet. We pride ourselves on being a faster IPv6 router with packetforwarding rates that have not been demonstrated before. In this area, we lead in high performance without compromise, at no extra cost to our customers.”
The IPv6 Ready Logo program, sponsored by the IPv6 Forum, is aimed at promoting IPv6 as the next generation Internet technology as well as stimulating the creation of standards-based interoperable implementations through out the industry. Despite international engineering guidelines, implementing a technology standard inevitably involves some degree of interpretation and, therefore, uncertainty. Would Foundry’s new breed of routers work with any host they’d be plugged into? How would they interact with other routers in the same network? How could Foundry demonstrate to its customers that its new products will interoperate with those already installed in millions of networks all over the globe?
“Laboratories like the UNH-IOL provide an indispensable service for us,” Abdelhalim says. “We have to ensure each device is compliant and that when you put a new router into your network it will work with Foundry because both devices are standards-compliant and interoperability-tested.”
A member in various UNH-IOL technology testing groups since 1997, Foundry sent its BigIron MG8, BigIron RX Series switches, and NetIron 40G routers to the UNH lab in Durham, New Hampshire. UNH-IOL administers a rigorous body of IPv6 tests approved by industry association IPv6 Forum through the laboratory’s IPv6 Consortium.
As administered by UNH-IOL IPv6 Consortium, the “IPv6 Ready” logo program consists of close to 400 test scripts that put IPv6 devices such as switches, servers and routers through a battery of trials that can greatly improve the products’ ability to perform as needed in real-world, multi-vendor deployments. There are self-test, conformance and interoperability segments. A product that has successfully completed 100% of the test items in the program qualifies to display a gold IPv6 Ready logo. Products that can obtain the logo include hosts, routers, operating systems and protocol stacks.
“We found the test procedure administered by UNH-IOL to be rigorous and the level of detail and complexity very thorough,” says Abdelhalim. “We’ve been testing against the leading vendors. The tests have proved to be very reliable, and working with UNH’s engineering team was very effective.”
The gold IPv6 Ready logo plan covers IPv6 functionality including IPv6 headers, IPv6 address autoconfiguration, address resolution, fragmentation, redirect, path MTU discovery, router discovery, prefix discovery, and Internet control messaging protocol (ICMP) version 6. It also addresses layer 2 address resolution and neighbor discovery specifications for IPv6, such as router advertising, error message processing and reachability timeout between two or more devices.
UNH-IOL engineers Timothy Winters and Erica Williamsen worked closely with Foundry’s IPv6 engineering team to resolve issues and refine Foundry’s implementation of the standard.
“We took the Foundry equipment through the logo test suite’s five sections until it passed 100 percent,” Williamsen says. “As for the few problems we saw, we were able to pinpoint them and in almost every case, able to address them on the spot. Going beyond conformance, we identified issues that would improve the product – a switch was dropping a specific packet, for example, because a previous customer had requested this as a feature. Once the context changed to IPv6, that feature became a bug. Would Foundry have spotted it on its own? Probably, but doing so at the point of logo verification probably saved the engineering team trouble, time and money.”
Having earned the gold IPv6 Ready logo, Foundry can assure its customers that its newest high-performance routing and switching devices will perform in mission-critical networks today and for years to come. Through the UNH-IOL, Foundry galvanized engineering resources and one of the largest multi-vendor IPv6 test beds in North America to jump-start its IPv6 conformance and quality assurance testing, slashing costs and time to market and leap-frogging competitors. Foundry worked with the same UNH-IOL engineers who helped define the international requirements for the IPv6 Ready Logo Program – engineers who have been testing IPv6 conformance and interoperability and debugging products from every major company in networking since the late 1990s. As a result, this certification reinforces Foundry’s leadership position in delivering future-ready solutions for converged next-generation networks.
“The UNH-IOL engineering team offered expert advice and expertise and worked very closely with our engineers,” says Abdelhalim. “The results that emerged have been propagated to the Foundry engineering team and compliance was achieved in a very short timeframe. Foundry has had a close and very productive relationship as a member of the UNH interop lab for eight years. We are eager to continue that relationship in the future.”
Established in 1988, the UNH-IOL is a non-profit organization housed in 32,000 + square feet of laboratory space offering comprehensive interoperability and conformance-based testing in 19 data communication technologies. Test solutions created at the UNH-IOL offer a set of methods to increase interoperability through protocol operations, signaling, point-to-point and multi-system scenarios.
Foundry Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) is a leading provider of high-performance enterprise and service provider switching, routing and Web traffic management solutions including Layer 2/3 LAN switches, Layer 3 Backbone switches, Layer 4 7 application switches, wireless LAN and access points, access routers and metro routers. Foundry's 8,500 customers include the world's premier ISPs, metro service providers, and enterprises including e-commerce sites, universities, entertainment, health and wellness, government, financial, and manufacturing companies. For more information about the company and its products, call 1.888.TURBOLAN or visit www.foundrynetworks.com.
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