With the explosive growth of network devices and mobile communications, the availability of address’ for the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is rapidly and inevitably becoming exhausted, which has driven the development and adoption of the next generation Internet Protocol, IPv6. IPv6 provides a greatly expanded IP address space. Not only does it provide a new addressing method for mobile devices, but it also redefines some protocols (e.g.: the QoS (Quality of Service)), improve routing efficiency, and enhance network layer security (built-in IPSec encryption). Therefore, learning IPv6 is very important for IT students to catch up with this inevitable trend.
The IPv6 Training System (ITS-200 series) is a protocol training solution which provides students with a hardware-based experiment platform and detailed course-ware to help them understand the operational behaviour of the IPv6 and the transition mechanism from IPv4 to IPv6. The entire system covers 46 hands-on experiments and consists of client hosts (ITS-201), server hosts (ITS-202) and routers (ITS-203), all of which play an important role in the network. These devices can be tested and observed individually, or they can be integrated into various network topologies for experimentation. With the analysis software provided by the system, the packet transfer process can be observed, so that all flows of information can be monitored and analysed. Instead of learning through software simulation alone, students are able to have a thorough understanding of IPv6 through manually constructing networks and observing protocol operations.
The client hosts (ITS-201) can be served as an IPv6 packet analyser. ITS-201 supports a dual-stack environment and allows IPv4 and Ipv6 packets to be browsed via the graphical user interface software. Students can simulate over 10 kinds of packet protocols and practice sending/receiving them. The server host (ITS-202) functions as a network server. From Internet browsers, it can be easily configured into 5 types of servers (DHCP, DNS, Web, FTP, and Email) for students to observe the browser’s communication in various applications. The router (ITS-203) is a 3-port router and supports the three commonly used routing protocols: static route and dynamic route (RIPng and OSPFv3). The GUI in ITS-203 is intuitive. To conduct a routing experiment, students can change the configuration dynamically and observe the change of information in its routing table through the GUI easily. Unlike conventional 2-port routers which only allow one routing path to be defined, ITS-203 enables students to select routing paths based on their defined priority and observe how the routing is implemented.
Nowadays, both IPv4 and IPv6 are used in our daily lives, and most devices are compatible with dual-stack protocol communication. As a result, it is important for qualified IT experts to master the two protocols and the transition mechanism between them. Over the next few decades, due to the trend of the Internet of Things, where each connected object requires an IP address, the importance of IPv6 will increase dramatically to cater to the demand for numerous IP addresses. With many built-in features, The ITS-200 series has many built-in features that are useful for IOT operations and deployment, such as mobility support, auto-configuration, and address scope. For IT students, learning IPv6 is imminent and indispensable in order to catch up with the world’s latest trends on the Internet.