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China Building Its Own IPv6, Reducing Country's Foreign Dependency

China has built its own version of an ultrafast next-generation Internet network that promises to reduce the country's dependence on foreign companies, the state news media reported Monday.

The China Education and Research Network has linked 167 institutes and departments at 25 universities in 20 cities through the Internet Protocol Version 6, China Central Television reported.

Read full story: International Herald Tribune

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Re: China Building Its Own IPv6, Reducing Country's Foreign Dependency Lynda L. True  –  Sep 25, 2006 1:55 PM PDT

I'm confused. In the article, it states:

"The new protocol can work at speeds of 2.5 gigabytes to 10 gigabytes of information per second, around 100 times current Internet speeds, the report said."

Surely this touted speed has nothing to do with IPv6. I realize that this article is simply parroting back items that someone found on Microsoft's site, but I'd be interested to know if this has some basis in fact. Even the security features of IPv6 are as yet untested; claims of '100 times current Internet speeds", whatever those are, seems superficial and potentially confusing.

Re: China Building Its Own IPv6, Reducing Country's Foreign Dependency Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Sep 25, 2006 5:31 PM PDT

What's [also] being discussed here, besides v6, is CNGI, the Chinese version of Internet2.  CNGI is all v6.

Nothing new though.  CNGI has been around for quite some time and you'll find them at apnic meetings [and nanogs too I guess]

Re: China Building Its Own IPv6, Reducing Country's Foreign Dependency Tom Vest  –  Sep 26, 2006 1:41 PM PDT

What foreign dependence?

China already possesses the most foreign/externally independent network of any nation on Earth. Unsaid but implied by the IHT article (more explicit in the primary English source) is the notion that hardware designed around IPv6 will enable China to be less dependent on foreign Internet hardware manufacturers, e.g., Cisco, Juniper, et al.

Does such a dependence exist? China already plays host to Huawei, one of the largest layer 2/3 hardware vendors in the world (with 20% regional market share, probably 3-4x more for new orders at home), and "foreign vendors" already support IPv6. Perhaps a better interpretation would be that Huawei's focus on IPv6 will make it better placed to compete in foreign markets. 

What about "foreign dependence" for IP addresses themselves? The original China Daily article certainly seems to make this false and imflammatory insinuation, stating for example:

"Under the current IPv4 system controlled by the United States (emphasis mine), there are mounting fears that the Internet address pool could run dry, especially in Asia, as more and more people connect to the Internet."

But the US government doesn't control IP addresses, for China or anyone else. The handful of network operators authorized to provide public Internet services in China receive their IP address allocations from the Regional Internet Registry for Asia, APNIC, as do their counterparts throughout the region. The remaining few private network operators in China must secure any required IP address resources through the Chinese-controlled National Internet Registry, CNNIC. None of the authorized, government-owned Chinese public Internet operators that is permitted under Chinese law to secure and use IPv4 addresses faces any greater barriers in this respect than any other ISP in Asia. Moreover, a systematic comparison of Internet routing tables to annual statistics volunteered by the Chinese government to the ITU strongly suggests that no IP address shortage has existed for China at any time to the present. If China has suffered from foreign dependence, the effects are hard to observe.

As a national objective, "freedom from foreign dependence" may sound inocuous enough, and no doubt there are ways to pursue this goal without venturing down the slippery slopes of nationalism and/or mercantilism. Unfortunately, the original article and its derivatives don't seem to be much informed by such concerns. Of course, a more honest, accurate framing — along the lines of "China Building Its Own IPv6, Increasing Country's Foreign Market Penetration" might have been awkward given the market restrictions that China continues to impose on foreign suppliers in "sensitive" sectors, like telecom and the Internet…

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