Global mobile satellite communications services provider Inmarsat has successfully trialled IPv6 services across its BGAN network. The trial, undertaken with technology partner Thrane & Thrane, coincided with World IPv6 Day on June 8.

Supported by the European Space Agency and the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, Inmarsat has now successfully completed an initial study on the feasibility of supporting IPv6 services across the BGAN network, which delivers mobile broadband services for use on land, at sea and in the air.

IPv6 is the next-generation version of the internet protocol (IP), the system by which information is transferred across networks. Organized by the Internet Society, World IPv6 Day has been designed to motivate organizations across the ICT industry – internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for the introduction of IPv6.

Major organizations such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo! were among participants who offered their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour ‘Test Flight’, which enabled Inmarsat and Thrane & Thrane to demonstrate BGAN’s compatibility with the new protocol.

The IPv6 over BGAN trial, undertaken by Thrane & Thrane using an EXPLORER 500 land mobile terminal, involved successfully establishing an IPv6 connection from Windows and Apple based computers via Inmarsat’s BGAN network to the public IPv6 Internet. The connection was used for web browsing (HTTP) on, searching for the ‘Internet Engineering Task Force’ (IETF) and then visiting the IETF IPv6 site. IETF is the organization responsible for creating the IPv6 protocol suite.

Thrane & Thrane’s Land Mobile Business Unit vice president Henrik Noerrelykke says, “We see an increasing interest in IPv6 from government organizations, and our participation in World IPv6 Day will reassure our customers of our ability to support native IPv6 services in the future. These tests illustrate that the EXPLORER series is already prepared to support our key customers’ future requirements.”

Inmarsat’s BGAN Product Evolution head Paul Febvre says, “The trials demonstrate several key concepts associated with transporting IPv6 over BGAN, including IPv6 PDP Context Activation, stateless address configuration, IPv6 DNS resolution, IPv6 routing, and tunnelling IPv6 over intermediary IPv4 networks. The tests also verify that the BGAN network will be able to support IPv6 services to future IPv6 Capable Products.”

“These successful trials illustrate our continued commitment to upgrading and enhancing our product and service portfolio, and constitute a key milestone in Inmarsat’s roadmap to support IPv6 and other advanced services in the future,” says Inmarsat’s Global Networks and Engineering Division senior vice president Richard Denny. “Inmarsat intends to work with its community of technology and distribution partners to ensure the complete readiness of the portfolio of BGAN user terminals and the BGAN ground network in preparation for the future era of IPv6 Internet access.”

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