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The New Internet: The Next Big Thing?

The new Internet has gotten a lot of press in Europe and Asia, but is still relatively unknown in the United States. It was therefore a real stunner when John Osterholz, the director of architecture and interoperability for the Department of Defense (DoD), announced last week that the Pentagon would only buy networked products that conform to the new specification, starting in October of this year, and DoD hopes to be totally transitioned by 2008 that more than $30 billion of product and services per year.

A recent conference on the new Internet referred to by the unglamorous name of Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6 (the existing Internet is IP version 4) drew a large crowd from more than two dozen countries to listen to the new opportunities for wireless, gaming, telecommunications and research offered by the new format. The North American IPv6 Global Summit took place at San Diego State University, and was sponsored by an elite group of technology giants, including Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Nokia, Ericsson, Hitachi, Elmic Systems and NEC, all of which already offer products that support the new Internet message forms and standards.

Prominent speakers including Osterholz, Jawad Khaki, cvp of Windows Networking for Microsoft, Latif Ladid, president of the IPv6 Forum and Alex Lightman, ceo of Charmed Technology and conference chairman, elucidated how the new Internet will bring many changes as profound as those resulting from the existing one. Basically, the world is expected to transition from having a 1,000 persons per Website (the global status not long ago) to having a 1,000 Websites for each person.

The existing Internet format is more than 20 years old, and is starting to show its age - it was never originally intended to support such functions as massive online gaming, streaming video, interactive multimedia or security. The message format of the new Internet has built-in security and wireless support, much more robust multimedia capabilities. It will also handle a practically infinite number of addresses per individual - for desktop and laptop computers, PDAs and game consoles, online phones and a host of yet-to-be-developed household and business appliances that can be individually monitored and that - of interest to animators - will demand vast libraries of graphic content and display interfaces.

Osterholz affirmed that the new Internet format will fundamentally affect modeling and simulation for the DoD's online training efforts, including new efforts in location-based gaming (LBG). Sony anticipates similar changes in the commercial world - it has mandated that all of its gaming and consumer products will be compatible with the new standard.

For more information about the conference, visit www.usipv6.com or the IPv6 Forum site, www.ipv6forum.com.

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