South Korea, Japan and China will join hands to take the initiative in the development of the next-generation Internet protocol (IP) address standards, known as IPv6.

Korean companies Samsung Group and KT as well as China-based China Telecom will join the research team together with seven Japanese companies including NTT DoCoMo, Hitachi and NEC.

IPv6 is an enhanced IP address system, which provides almost limitless IP addresses. The current IPv4 platform only has about 4.3 billion addresses and is expected to be full by 2006. The expanded amount of IP addresses are useful for "smart" devices like kitchen appliances, phones, automobiles, and other new IP-based machines and devices.

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