Ericsson tests IPv6 for seamless 2G, 3G, WLAN roaming

Ericsson conducted a demonstration on Friday using next-generation Internet technology to transport vital medical data and video information seamlessly over a variety of wireless network technologies.

Ericsson used IPv6 (Internet Protocol, Version 6) to transmit data between the wireless systems GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), 3G (third-generation) and WLAN (wireless LAN), the Swedish telecommunications equipment manufacturer said in a statement.

The trial is part of the European Union's IPv6 Wireless Internet Initiative (6WINIT), which was launched in 2001 by a consortium led by the University College London with carriers, suppliers, research organizations, hospitals and universities.

The demonstration focused on the new emergency media wireless system Guardian Angel, Ericsson said. The system can seamlessly roam between different types of access networks, choosing the best available in a given location, the company said. It is designed to allow doctors to observe patients in the ambulance and monitor their heart rate and blood pressure, using mobile data networks such as GPRS and 3G. Once at the hospital, the system automatically switches over to an indoor WLAN hot spot.

In addition, Guardian Angel allows data to use separate network interfaces in parallel, according to Ericsson. If, for instance, the WLAN lacks sufficient capacity to ensure reliable transmission, the vital medical data can simultaneously use a GSM, GPRS or 3G channel.

The 6WINIT project has been set up to validate the introduction of new mobile wireless Internet systems based on a combination of IPv6 and the wireless protocols GPRS and 3G, according to the initiative's Web site.

Ericsson claims to have introduced one of the first commercial routers based on IPv6 technology in 1995.

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