Juniper's decision to wait until September 2012 to offer IPv6 content won't have an immediate impact on the company.
"Only 1% of routes are reachable by IPv6. The number of DNS queries that are IPv6 is a half of a percent. Way, way less than 1% of the Internet is IPv6," Ward says, pointing out that IPv6-enabled Web sites don't perform as well as IPv4 Web sites. "There are a number of challenges to get there."
Instead of focusing on IPv6 Web content, Juniper is putting its energy into supporting native IPv6 as well as dual-stack configurations where IPv6 runs alongside IPv4 in all of its products. Juniper recently announced support for an emerging IPv4-to-IPv6 transition mechanism known as Dual-Stack Lite, and it has been a leader in another approach called 6PE for use with Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks.
"The killer application for IPv6 is access back to the IPv4 network," Ward says. "Our main focus from a technology point of view is the multi-decade-long transition we will have from IPv4 to IPv6...We're spending a huge amount of dollars on that."
Juniper is in the process of having various routers, switches and firewalls tested for compliance with the U.S. federal government's IPv6 profile, known as USGv6 , as well as running them through the latest IPv6-Ready tests.
A Juniper spokesman said the company "will be increasingly busy" in 2011 having its routers, switches and firewalls tested for IPv6 compliance by the University of New Hampshire's InterOperability Lab and the ICSA Lab.
Juniper's spokesman also points out that after eight years of development, the IPv6 functionality in its products is "extensive." In the past year, the company's EX Series Ethernet Switches, SRX Series Services Gateways and new MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers have added IPv6 capabilities.
Ward points out that Juniper is trying to provide the same functionality and performance for IPv6-based services that it provides for IPv4 services while also supporting all the necessary IPv4-to-IPv6 transition mechanisms, including gateways, tunneling and carrier-grade network-address translation.