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ECS improves broadcasting options for Virgin Radio


The School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton is the first university department to deploy IPv6 in production on its network. Now a team at the School has worked on the technology with Virgin Radio to vastly increase its listening capacity online.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) provides 340 undecillion addresses (3.4 x 10Ë38) compared to the four billion addresses possible with the current 20-year-old IPv4. Virgin is the first commercial radio station to use IPv6 in this way, enabling it to reach many more listeners on the Internet.

David Jones, Head of IT at Virgin Radio, said: ’We are delighted to be the first commercial radio station to adopt this next generation Internet protocol, and see it as being essential to the future of Internet Radio. IPv6 is core to the future provision of radio to 3G mobile devices, and will continue our strategy to expand on to all potential platforms.’

Nicholas Humfrey of the School of Electronics and Computer Science deployed the software which enabled Virgin Radio to transmit over the IPv6-capable Internet. He points out that the Internet is running out of space for new addresses and in order to increase its capacity, organisations need to implement IPv6. He comments: ’It’s analogous to when BT had to do lots of renumbering of the telephone system; now the Internet has reached the same stage and needs space for more addresses.’

He added: ’Up to now the take-up of IPv6 has been slow and it has been largely used by research associations rather than end users. We want to see more organisations and Internet Service Providers using it so that we can develop further multicast technologies which will make broadcasting on the Internet a more mutually satisfactory experience.’

Dr Tim Chown, who has led the University’s research work on IPv6 since 1997, said: ’The involvement with Virgin Radio is fantastic, and shows that there is genuine commercial interest in IPv6. This exciting new technology has been made possible by our involvement in the EUR10M 6NET project (see which has defined and deployed new internet standards for IPv6 multicast.’

Joyce Lewis | alfa
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