AT&T Bucks IPv6 Trend
John Donovan, senior executive VP for technology and network operations at AT&T, weighed in today on his blog and noted that AT&T will reach up to 5 million homes with IPv6 by the end of 2012.
That would move AT&T up closer to Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (arguably the IPv6 leader) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), who've both claimed they'll reach most of their consumer customers this year. (See Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6 and Comcast: More IPv6 Traffic Please .)
One difference is that AT&T is using 6rd, a managed tunneling approach, to deploy IPv6 versus the native dual-stacking that the cable folks are using. Comcast actually tested 6rd before deciding not to use it.
More formally known as IPv6 Rapid Deployment, or RFC 5969 for the true geeks, 6rd is considered by many a more legit transition strategy than its predecessor, 6to4, because the service provider controls the operation of 6rd completely within its network and doesn't rely on relay servers outside its control to connect its customers. Consumer devices do have to be configured to work with a specific carrier network for 6rd to work.
Whether using 6rd versus native dual-stack will ultimately make any difference to AT&T's customers is almost impossible to predict, but my guess is AT&T found the most cost-effective way to move forward and took it.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading