51,000 Addresses In A Single Plant
In 2005 Bechtel, a company who focuses on engineering, construction, management, and development services worldwide, started their transition to IPv6. What began as a response to pressure from their government customers turned into the discovery of the unimaginable.
The company recently finished building a refinery in India that has 51,000 instruments they must monitor and control. Each with its own IP address, all operating on a single network – it’s only possible with IPv6.
With IPv6, Bechtel is able to converge all of its networks to IP. That means everything from its voice networks to video and office systems, and even building plant and process automation systems.
The company recently finished building a refinery in India that has 51,000 instruments they must monitor and control. Putting all of those instruments on a single IP network allows Bechtel to significantly streamline their operations. With IPv6, the thousands of devices are enabled to work with the same routers and switches Bechtel normally uses in an office network, as opposed to a proprietary control system network. 51,000 instruments, each with its own IP address, all operating on a single network – it’s only possible with IPv6.
Network On The Go
“We want to get to the point where we can install a trailer, put in an IPv6 wireless router and have that trailer discover other trailers and create, on the fly, a self-configured mesh network that allows communications among them. You’re not going to go there with IPv4, I’ll tell you that.”
With IPv6, the need to manually assign addresses to servers and new devices is eliminated. Bechtel uses the automatic configuration capabilities of IPv6 for everything, which saves a significant amount of time and energy for their employees.
Imagine this – a typical Bechtel construction project can involve 20,000 to 50,000 workers. The company brings in numerous trailers to function as offices and tool sheds, each requiring a generator to supply power, phone lines and network connections. A few months later, it all gets dismantled and the trailers are moved to another location where the process starts all over. “We want to get to the point where we can install a trailer, put in an IPv6 wireless router and have that trailer discover other trailers and create, on the fly, a self-configured mesh network that allows communications among them,” Bechtel’s Fred Wettling says. “You’re not going to go there with IPv4, I’ll tell you that.” But it is possible to get there with IPv6.
How They Got There
Bechtel started their transition to IPv6 in 2005, and as of September 2007, more than 14,800 Bechtel client computers — about 85% of the total in the company — had IPv6 turned on. Similarly, more than 60% of all Bechtel network ports are running dual IPv4/IPv6 stacks. Currently, the company is almost entirely IPv6-enabled (with the exception of systems due for imminent retirement).
When an infrastructure engineer updates documentation on how to build a Web server, IPv6 becomes part of it. As computers get upgraded, IPv6 gets turned on.
To implement IPv6, one approach is the forklift upgrade, where you migrate everything at once, like upgrading an operating system. But IPv6 lends itself to a more gradual approach.
“It’s not a big separate project where we attack everything. We just embed it into the normal work process,” Bechtel’s Fred Wettling says. When an infrastructure engineer updates documentation on how to build a Web server, IPv6 becomes part of it. As computers get upgraded, IPv6 gets turned on. Wettling says, “If you want to implement a brand new something, it will have IPv6 turned on or it won’t be implemented.”
Where will they go next?
“Things are occurring that we never thought of before. We see IPv6 as a real foundation for innovation and transformation in the company.” –Fred Wettling
Now that they’re beginning to see the possibilities with IPv6, Bechtel is starting to roll out new ideas, such as:
- Installing sensors to measure wind speed during construction projects (such as bridge construction) so sensors can configure themselves quickly and easily to improve safety.
- Retrofitting power plants with IPv6 so when workers walk through with tablet computers they can pull drawings from a server, take pictures with a camera mounted to their helmet, talk via Bluetooth-enabled phones over a VoIP network and interactively collaborate with other peers adjacent to them.
Get There With NTT Communications
At NTT Communications, we know IPv6. We’ve been directly involved with the development and deployment of IPv6 technology since 1996, and our IPv6 technology was the first of its kind available in the U.S. and the first globally. NTT Communications will give you access to the world’s first commercial-grade Global Tier 1 IPv6 Backbone. Our backbone spans Asia, Europe, North America and Australia, demonstrating our true global connectivity.
We invite you to join our network and experience the limitless freedom of our IPv6 Native, Tunneling, and Dual Stack Gateway Services. It’s time to step into the future of the Internet.