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Linux-powered Finnish firewalls add IPv6

Nov 6, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

[Updated Nov. 9] — A security appliance vendor in Linux-creator Linus Torvalds's birth city has promised to add IPv6 support to its extensive line of Linux-based security appliances. Helsinki-based Stonesoft says its StoneGate appliances will support IPv6 prior to the June 30, 2008 mandate among U.S. government customers.

Stonesoft's StoneGate line includes dozens of products that are available as software or pre-integrated on what looks to be about ten separate hardware platforms. The products include enterprise and SOHO (small-office, home-office) firewall appliances, access gateways with VPN (virtual private network) servers, and perimeter firewalls styled as “intrusion prevention systems” (IPSs).

Stonesoft's 10 hardware platforms

The Stonegate devices are based on a Debian Linux OS that has been “stripped down and hardened,” according to a company spokesperson. The devices integrate with the company's StoneGate Management Center software, which is available for Windows or Red Hat Linux hosts. The management software is said to provide tools for security management, monitoring, and regulation compliance.

At current rates, the IPv4 address space will be depleted in 7.5 years, according to an informative IPv6 overview at Ars Technica. IPv6, created in the mid-1990s, increases IPv4's 32-bit address space to an astronomical 128-bit space; however, IPv6 requires router support, leading to slow rollouts. IPv6-enabled routers are backward-compatible with IPv4, but do ad hoc encryption, auto-configuration, and traffic prioritizing when talking to other IPv6 routers.

The U.S. Government deadline for federal agencies to begin installing IPv6 technology is expected to encourage a flood of supporting products. In October of 2005, RTI International released a report estimating that government agencies will spend almost $4.6 billion over the next 20 years transitioning to IPv6, with $1.5 billion spent in the next five years.

Stonesoft CEO Ilkka Hiidenheimo stated, “The IPv6 era is beginning and we are ready, particularly since our solutions are built on Linux which recognizes IPv6 traffic today.”


IPv6-compatible versions of the StoneGate Firewall, VPN, and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) are expected to ship in 2Q 2008. In some cases, firmware upgrades may be available to existing customers.

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