The research and scientific communities around the world are aware of the
impact of advanced networks and services. The new Internet Protocol, IPv6, provides the necessary basis
for realising a global information society, the underlying e-infrastructure and lays the framework for
many new and imaginative network services for the benefit of society. High-speed networks, like GÉANT,
offer a whole new way of collaborative research to be carried out within a region and around the globe.
The Global IPv6 Service Launch Event builds on regional activities, conferences and meetings held by the
various networking organisations in their region. The Global IPv6 Service Launch Event also builds on the
recent achievements of the research and development community in testing and validating the large-scale
rollout of IPv6.
IPv6 is the re-design of the Internet Protocol version 4, IPv4, which has been in use for the past 20
years or so. IPv4 is the protocol on which the Internet, as we know it, has been built. While it has
proved to be highly successful and resilient, IPv4 was designed when most of today's technologies were not
conceived. IPv6 rectifies many of the problems that IPv4 cannot easily address and opens up the way to many
exciting and new services and enables a new era of global co-operation.
Through various bilateral discussions in the past a global pattern for research networking on IPv6 could
be identified. Drawing from that, it was felt that it is time to take a common global approach to native
IPv6 networking for the research community on a worldwide scale. The Global IPv6 Service Launch Event will
address and highlight these issues. Subsequent actions will seek to foster further collaboration on related
research networking subjects of worldwide interest.
An important goal of the European Union in general, and more particularly of the European Research Area,
is to create an environment where researchers living and working in different countries have access to
state-of-the-art networking services in order to pursue their research. Together with GÉANT, the national
research and education networks and the wider European research networking community provide an
e-infrastructure that is the foundation of the European Research Area.
Several large-scale research undertakings in Europe with partners from all over the world started a
concerted action at the beginning of 2002 to tackle the issues related to the broad rollout of IPv6. These
initiatives are producing impressive results and their impact is recognised widely. In this event these
advanced test-bed activities highlight their findings and demonstrate the benefits of IPv6-based networks,
services and applications.