China has developed a next-generation Internet network that is not only ultra-fast but may reduce the country's dependency on foreign firms, AFP reported, quoting state media. The China Education and Research Network 2 reportedly links up to 167 institutes and departments at 25 universities in 20 cities. It operates on Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). Current internet users operate on IPv4, which has limited names and lacks some security and high-tech functions. IPv6 can operate up to 100 times faster than current Internet speeds. The US, Japan and South Korea are also building IPv6 standards expected to be in wide use by 2010. IPv6 can handle an infinite number of addresses and is more compatible with mobile devices.