Editorial

Is your ISP ready for IPv6?

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you'll no doubt be aware that the Internet is running out of IPv4 addresses. Exactly what this means will be covered in a later article, but for now, we're going to take a look into what ISPs around the world are doing to be ready for the switch-over to IPv6.

Whilst IPv4 isn't about to stop working suddenly in a few days once the IANA runs out of addresses to allocate to the RIRs (Regional Internet Registries), many businesses are already pushing their suppliers for IPv6 ready hardware and connectivity. In order for that to be worthwhile, ISPs need to start rolling out IPv6 to consumers, and pressure is already mounting for them to do so.

In researching this article, the top 10 ISPs (in terms of number of subscribers) in the UK and the US were contacted regarding their IPv6 plans, and the responses have been, in general, very positive.

Out of all 20 companies contacted, only two responded saying that IPv6 is already available to customers on their network. EntaNet, a UK based ISP, has been providing IPv6 connectivity to UK homes for a number of years, and has been actively encouraging its competition to do the same. 

Claranet, a large European ISP with presence in the UK was the first in the country to provide IPv6 service, having had it enabled for almost ten years.

Unfortunately, for other subscribers in the UK, the news is less positive. As of the time this article was written, no other UK ISPs have responded, and there is no sign on company websites of any news on IPv6 (please let us know if you have any information on this). While BT has been running internal trials, this doesn't yet appear to have been extended to the general public.

Over the pond in the US, most ISPs are well on their way in terms of planning and internal testing of IPv6, with Comcast and Verizon already rolling out consumer trials, but the majority are being cagey when it comes to releasing dates for a full-scale deployment. Companies such as Qwest and AT&T have been offering both dual-stack and native IPv6 access to governmental and business customers since last year.

As EntaNet pointed out, many ISPs have been using the lack of consumer demand as a reason to hold off on the capital investment required to upgrade their networks to support the new addressing protocol. Aside from the capital costs of upgrading their own infrastructure, another hurdle faced by ISPs that could be slowing adoption is the lack of IPv6 support in most home routers and/or modems.

Given that it is common practise these days for ISPs to provide a router to new customers, in order to enable access to IPv6, either these devices are going to need to receive a firmware upgrade, or be replaced. With the age of some devices still in use in homes, it is unlikely that upgrades will be release for the majority of them, so replacement is the likely course of action, and this will obviously come at a cost, either to the ISP, or more likely, to the consumer requesting the IPv6 service.

Clearly, ISPs are beginning to rally behind IPv6 and have brought in the expertise required to move forward with deploying the service to customers. It's just a question of time, a figure that none have been willing to share, but there have been many promises of announcements to come in the near future.

In the meantime, there are a number of transitional technologies in place for users who don't have native connectivity from their ISP, and these will be examined in detail in a forthcoming article.

Image Credit: ThinkBroadband

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Virgin Media standard template comment was....?

When the time comes for IPv6 roll out we will let everybody know on what will happen. Until then we will be sticking with IPv4 as we have more than enough IP addresses in reserve.

By using a router will eliminate most of the issues as this will assign just one ip address per household instead of one for every device connecting to the internet.

Hope this helps

Paul
Help & Support Forum Team

My router is already IPv6 ready although I have heard they might be rolling out new modems with DOCSIS 4.0

Talked with Charter the other day and was told that not until the Govt here in the US mandates IPv6, will we get that option here.

India: The telecom department has now instructed all the service providers in the country to become IPv6 compliant by the end of next year [This was in 2010].

Indian government further said that all government agencies and public companies would make the switch to IPv6 by March 2012.

I think in all countries, Governments should fix a date. Left to their own devices, each ISP will switch over at their own pace, causing interoperability problems.

My ISP Airtel(India) plans to be ready by Mid 2012. Oh cool. India's largest private ISP, best quality service, big movie stars in Advertisements (that's where my money goes).

The State Owned, Public Sector ISP - BSNL and MTNL, are IPv6 ready since March 2010.....
In-fact a few of my friends have just configured their Routers and tried reaching IPv6-Google, worked...
BUT You call them up, they say they don't know what that is (that's why they are not 'Best quality' ). lol

ceminess said,
IPv6 = The end of the VPN?

There is nothing preventing usage of VPN on IPv6. Your VPN software might need an upgrade.

Sevan said,
Oh goody, my host doesn't have IPv6... Nice COX, considering you're one of the bigger ISPs

TWC hasn't moved on IPv6, either.

That is likely because both companies are waiting to see how the MUCH larger Comcast (which uses a lot of the same hardware) handles being the guinea pig. (What folks seem to forget is that Comcast is USED to being the guinea pig - Comcast has been the US DOCSIS guinea pig, especially for Motorola, and General Instrument before that, since 1996.)

I'm not quite sure why ever one is wanting an IPv6 so quickly. For the vast majority of people, they wont have any thing to use IPv6 with for a few more years yet, and the sites that do offer ipv6 will also offer ipv4 even if its via 4to6 access along the line.

Not only the above, but also ipv6 is a internet facing IP address regardless of if you use a 'router', as your router won't route any traffic, it'll be more like a switch.

An actualy Ipv6 is made up in two parts.
2001:5c00:1000:b000 / 0000:0000:0000:07e2b
The first part will stay the same between all computers behind your modem/gateway(or where your router was). The second part makes up the ip addres of the computers behind the gateway.
2001:5c00:1000:b000 / 0000:0000:0000:07e2b <PC1
2001:5c00:1000:b000 / 0000:0000:0000:03d2d <PC2 etc and they all have a public IP address.

Not only that, but you'll also get fe88 ipv6 for your internal LAN and loop back devices and two other ipv6 on the same machine. Before you all race off to get Ipv6, I suggest that you do real fully what IPv6 does give you.
The main thing is going to give you is forward facing internet IPs for every device on your LAN, meaning they can be connected to via the internet remotely if you don't install a firewall on each machine/device you have setup with IPv6.
So for the vast majority of users who can't even keep their computer clean of spy/trojans/ etc maybe the IPS leaving them on a router with NAT as a physical firewall and older IPv4 is the best thing for them.. at least for thetime being until most applications can deal with IPv6.

sagum said,
I'm not quite sure why ever one is wanting an IPv6 so quickly. For the vast majority of people, they wont have any thing to use IPv6 with for a few more years yet, and the sites that do offer ipv6 will also offer ipv4 even if its via 4to6 access along the line.

Why the heavier demand for IPv6?

Two issues (neither of which is dealt with by NAT) - security (especially in terms of P2P) and IP shortfall.

IP shortfall (especially for devices that are not capable of dealing with NAT, such as mobile devices) is a real nightmare for wireless providers, and Wifi for smartphones is, at best, a partial solution. (That is, in fact, why Asia and India have moved the furthest AND the fastest on IPv6.) That shortfall is like a country's debt - it is best dealt with sooner than later.

Security (especially privacy) has also reared its head; that is something that NAT was in no way designed to deal with.

IPv6-capable software? Home software, for once, is *not* the issue! Windows has been IPv6-capable since Windows XP's Service Pack 1 (the testing started with Windows 2000 Professional) back in (believe it or not) 2004! Naturally, all of Windows' competitors (Linux distributions, the BSDs, and OS X) are also IPv6-ready out of the box. A lot of third-party software for home routers is also IPv6-ready (that has been, in fact, a driving force behind the opening up of home routers to third-party firmware replacements, such as Netgear's WNR3500L and LinksysByCisco's WRT160NL), which is even dragging the closed-source router crowd (especially Cisco's Linksys brand) off the schneid (the entire current wireless-N router line from Linksys, including the just-launched E4200, supports IPv6 either directly or via third-party firmware, or both).

The other driving force (in the United States) is, naturally, the United States government itself. Back during the second Bush's second term, OMB required the government *as a whole* to purchase IPv6-capable IT gear (the only reason the military was exempt was because they had such a requirement in place). Since everybody and their brother wants to sell to Uncle Sam, that REALLY forced the issue.

Also, you seem to be having a panic attack over firewalls (or lack thereof) on IPv6-capable or IPv6-facing devices. SPI firewalls on IPv6-facing devices not only still work, they tend to be a lot more capable than their IPv4-only counterparts (SPI is still part and parcel of the DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem/CMTS requirement; IPv6 did not make that go away).
Not only the above, but also ipv6 is a internet facing IP address regardless of if you use a 'router', as your router won't route any traffic, it'll be more like a switch.

An actualy Ipv6 is made up in two parts.
2001:5c00:1000:b000 / 0000:0000:0000:07e2b
The first part will stay the same between all computers behind your modem/gateway(or where your router was). The second part makes up the ip addres of the computers behind the gateway.
2001:5c00:1000:b000 / 0000:0000:0000:07e2b <PC1
2001:5c00:1000:b000 / 0000:0000:0000:03d2d <PC2 etc and they all have a public IP address.

Not only that, but you'll also get fe88 ipv6 for your internal LAN and loop back devices and two other ipv6 on the same machine. Before you all race off to get Ipv6, I suggest that you do real fully what IPv6 does give you.
The main thing is going to give you is forward facing internet IPs for every device on your LAN, meaning they can be connected to via the internet remotely if you don't install a firewall on each machine/device you have setup with IPv6.
So for the vast majority of users who can't even keep their computer clean of spy/trojans/ etc maybe the IPS leaving them on a router with NAT as a physical firewall and older IPv4 is the best thing for them.. at least for thetime being until most applications can deal with IPv6.

Good old Charter. Not ready for it yet. Always a day late and MANY dollars short!

Your internet connection is not IPv6 capable

AOL isn't really the same internet we all know and love (or wasn't in the early days I care so little these days I can't be arsed to check). AOL (used to at least not sure now) actually connected you to AOL - who then used thier proxy servers to connect you to the internet, but you were actually dialling into a privately addresses private network.

Mine says my Internet does not support ipv6 and AOL likely won't do nothing So dunno tbh

(And I don't care that it's AOL!! , Internet is Internet)

TechDudeGeorge said,
Mine says my Internet does not support ipv6 and AOL likely won't do nothing So dunno tbh

(And I don't care that it's AOL!! , Internet is Internet)

There's internet. Then there is AOL Internet

This is what the Swedish broadband provider ComHem gives as answer:

"ComHem doesn't have support for IPv6 in our network. Today it doesn't give any or very limited use for IPv6 to provide it for our customers. However, the main part of our network already has support for IPv6 and the new EuroDocsis 3.0 fully supports IPv6. Since it's not only advantages with IPv6 but also some problems that need to be solved, we will wait to make it available in our network. When the technology is enough spread on the Internet, ComHem will be ready to activate IPv6."

My ISP said that when they run out of IPv4 addresses they will roll out IPv6 - they use Motorola Surfboard modems so I'm not sure if the current models can support it (they are the shark-fin type).

Lexcyn said,
My ISP said that when they run out of IPv4 addresses they will roll out IPv6 - they use Motorola Surfboard modems so I'm not sure if the current models can support it (they are the shark-fin type).

THE SB-51xx series does not (because neither DOCSIS or EuroDOCSIS required it at the time); however, the SB-6xxx (the DOCSIS 3.0 and EuroDOCSIS 3.0 successor models) all do. I'm in the same pickle; I have an SB-5120 that I bought new in 2005. The bigger problem is my *router* (the original WNR3500 is not IPv6-ready or capable, as it does not support third-party firmware), as that has to be replaced as well.

PGHammer said,

THE SB-51xx series does not (because neither DOCSIS or EuroDOCSIS required it at the time); however, the SB-6xxx (the DOCSIS 3.0 and EuroDOCSIS 3.0 successor models) all do. I'm in the same pickle; I have an SB-5120 that I bought new in 2005. The bigger problem is my *router* (the original WNR3500 is not IPv6-ready or capable, as it does not support third-party firmware), as that has to be replaced as well.

Damn, mine is an SB-5101 ... I bought mine too about a year ago from our ISP. I haven't heard of any new modems either... well I hope they have something up their sleeve.

As for routers, I just bought a Cisco E3000 - which has the ability to support IPv6 in a future firmware update & also with DDWRT. I somehow think Cisco will avoid updating it, though, and just release a new model with IPv6 build in to make more $$.

EDIT: I just sent an e-mail to my ISP with my concerns. Let's see what they say.

Edited by Lexcyn, Jan 30 2011, 1:25am :

I just sent an email to Videotron here in Quebec. They replied:

We are currently testing every type of connection we supply.
Whichever modem and subscription you have, we will be able to upgrade towards IPV6.
We should have more information in the coming months.

TGV 30Mbit oh aye ba

Good to know!

RedMike said,
I just sent an email to Videotron here in Quebec. They replied:

We are currently testing every type of connection we supply.
Whichever modem and subscription you have, we will be able to upgrade towards IPV6.
We should have more information in the coming months.

TGV 30Mbit oh aye ba

For a layman about these things if your isp still has you on IPv4 what will be the effect on your internet connection when the IPv4 runs out?

Sylar2010 said,
For a layman about these things if your isp still has you on IPv4 what will be the effect on your internet connection when the IPv4 runs out?

Not likely, your ISP will have many addresses reserved for their usage so it wont be a big issue until your ISP runs out (Which could be months or even years from now).
Even if that happens, they aren't likely to leave you without an IP to use (meaning you can't get online), you'll probably end up sharing your public IP.

Kushan said,

Not likely, your ISP will have many addresses reserved for their usage so it wont be a big issue until your ISP runs out (Which could be months or even years from now).
Even if that happens, they aren't likely to leave you without an IP to use (meaning you can't get online), you'll probably end up sharing your public IP.

And if you want to reach a website that's IPv6 only because the owner of the server is unable to get an IPv4 address from their provider?

I'd imagine they'd have to get some IPv6 connectivity available sooner or later, but I bet it wont be till after people start complaining that they can't reach certain websites

I'll be sad to see old faithfuls like 127.0.0.1 and 192.168.0.1 go.
Here I come, ::1/128!

My ISP doesn't support it; they're saying that they won't pay for all the upgrades necessary as long as IPv4 satisfies their needs. I guess they still haven't exhausted the IPv4 address range that they've bought yet.

Northgrove said,
My ISP doesn't support it; they're saying that they won't pay for all the upgrades necessary as long as IPv4 satisfies their needs. I guess they still haven't exhausted the IPv4 address range that they've bought yet.

It's that kind of attitude that's going to screw them, and their customers, over when the time comes.


The transition period is going to be a huge mess.

When the time comes, if Google had the balls to cut off IPv4 access to their services, that would force a lot of people to wake up... but that won't happen as it would give their competitors an advantage and cost Google a fortune. Would be nice if a major player of something went IPv6 only in the beginning to promote the need to switch.

"In researching this article, the top 10 ISPs (in terms of number of subscribers) in the UK and the US were contacted regarding their IPv6 plans, and the responses have been, in general, very positive.
Out of all 20 companies contacted, only two responded saying that IPv6 is already available to customers on their network."
That doesn't sound very positive at all to me...

I am using a router with DD-WRT and enabled IPv6 on it via the wiki. Granted it's not "native" IPv6 but it's 6to4 so i get a actual proper address on my machines

Odly enough i have Googles DNS programmed into my router's DNS options and on the IPv6 test site it says my DNS doesn't support IPv6. Umm I figured Google would have at least got this setup already.

There might be some performance considerations with IPv6 when done via 6to4 without a tunnel broker.

I know Cablevision (NY,CT,N.NJ) hasn't even mentioned anything about it publically so i don't expect any sort of movement with them anytime soon.

SHoTTa35 said,
I am using a router with DD-WRT and enabled IPv6 on it via the wiki. Granted it's not "native" IPv6 but it's 6to4 so i get a actual proper address on my machines

Odly enough i have Googles DNS programmed into my router's DNS options and on the IPv6 test site it says my DNS doesn't support IPv6. Umm I figured Google would have at least got this setup already.

There might be some performance considerations with IPv6 when done via 6to4 without a tunnel broker.

I know Cablevision (NY,CT,N.NJ) hasn't even mentioned anything about it publically so i don't expect any sort of movement with them anytime soon.

\

I have cablevision also. They are the kind of company that they will flip a switch one day and everybody will get ipv6 ip's no warning or anything.

majortom1981 said,
\

I have cablevision also. They are the kind of company that they will flip a switch one day and everybody will get ipv6 ip's no warning or anything.

I hope thats not what they do....

I wouldn't be surprised if there were still devices operating w/ an IPv4 address 10 years from now. This process is going to be a slow one...

Shadrack said,
I wouldn't be surprised if there were still devices operating w/ an IPv4 address 10 years from now. This process is going to be a slow one...

What's going to happen is that the majority of sites are going to need to serve on both ipv4 and ipv6 addresses so that everyone can get to them.