NEC is offering free source code for software to enable existing hardware to connect to networks running a future version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the company has announced.
The NEC software acts as a translator between the current protocol underlying the Internet, IP version 4 (IPv4), and IP version 6 (IPv6), which is gradually being deployed in its place.
IPv6 is expected to not only vastly increase the number of available IP addresses but also to ease network management and has built-in encryption and quality of service features not found in IPv4.
The protocol was initially seen as the answer to a growing shortage of IP addresses and many in the Internet community pushed for a rapid deployment of IPv6. But that fear seems to have subsided as corporations grapple with more pressing challenges such how to deal with the Year 2000 problem.
Network hardware, software and applications will have to be updated to the new protocol, a procedure NEC said its translator can help accomplish.
NEC will offer the software for free on its Web site. The Tokyo-based company is already using its translator on a gateway linking its IPv4 networks and a test network based on the new protocol, NEC said.
The translator runs on both Unix and Windows operating systems and any network interface card, the company said.
NEC will present the technology at a December meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a group that sets technical standards for the Internet, the company said.