IP protocols/software

Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

DENVER -- Cable Next-Gen Broadband Strategies -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) both expect to roll out IPv6 to a substantial number of customers this year, though neither is giving out specifics.

John Brzozowski, chief architect for IPv6 at Comcast, told a breakfast audience here that Comcast will have IPv6 deployed in half of its network by the end of the second quarter and is "happily on our way to nationwide IPv6 deployment," some of which spills over into 2013.

Brzozowski also says Comcast will have an IPv6 home networking solution to announce, probably by summer. That becomes more important as content moves to IPv6 and consumers get their hands on newer IPv6-capable devices.

Lee Howard, director of network technology for Time Warner Cable, reiterated that the MSO will have 100,000 customers on IPv6-capable networks by June 6, the new World IPv6 Launch Day, and added today that TWC sees 2012 as a year for substantial IPv6 activity, though that activity will continue into 2013. (See IPv6 Global Event Gets Real.)

Those plans put the cable giants at the forefront of announced IPv6 deployment to U.S. consumers.

Cox Communications Inc. doesn't have as aggressive a rollout plan for consumers, but has delivered IPv6 already to its business customers who take optical services, says Jeff Finkelstein, Cox's senior director, network architecture.

"We are slowly moving toward market trials in a limited number of markets this year -- not as quickly as Comcast and Time Warner, but we are taking a lot of learnings out of their early market launches," Finkelstein says. "By the end of the year, we are hoping to be in more than three trial markets."

All three companies have decided to go native dual stack, essentially deploying IPv4 and IPv6 side-by-side throughout their network. This is considered the most graceful solution to deploying IPv6 while continuing to support IPv4, but is often also the most expensive, which has led some carriers to consider transition strategies such as tunneling and Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation.

All three cable technologists say their extensive examination of IPv6 transition options led to the conclusion that native dual-stack is the only approach that isn't a Band-Aid approach, which essentially delays addressing the real problem: getting IPv6 out to the entire customer base.

"I can't say there are not circumstances under which we wouldn't use a different transition strategy," Howard says. "But since native IPv6 is our long-term strategy, anyway, it makes more sense to do that now."

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:38:56 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

Not questioning their decision, but curious what their cost would be for running two (IPv4, IPv6) networks...

cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:38:55 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

Dual stack is not the least expensive solution, to be sure -- hopefully someone with more intimate knowledge of costs can weigh in here.

But to a person, the cable IPv6 guys said that since they have to go native IPv6 anyway, better to do it now and get it done than invest in transition technologies such as tunneling or carrier grade NAT and just kick the can further down the road. So in the long run, this must be the most cost effective approach for them.


paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:38:55 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6


If you are asking the hardware costs to dual stack, they are $0.  The bigger issue is the software costs and most ISPs are expecting all their gear to dual stack for free.




joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:38:53 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

Hello Carol-

When the cablecos talk about rolling out IPv6 by June, I don't think they mean that they are going to start assigining IPv6 addresses to their end customers, do they?

I think their concern is more having their customers be able to reach endpoints that have IPv6 addresses & for those endpoints to be able to reach their customers, yes?

It would be pretty astonishing if the cablecos were already assigning IPv6 addresses to customers.





cnwedit 12/5/2012 | 5:38:53 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

Actually, they are talking about making IPv6 available to customers who have IPv6-capable devices. That's part of the point of World IPv6 Day this year.

joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:38:48 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

That makes sense. Thanks for the additional information.

acohn 12/5/2012 | 5:38:48 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

Why is that amazing? IPv6 blocks are being handed out like candy to people who ask for them.

It's not a huge leap to go from having an IPv6 capable network to actually handing out the addresses to customers.

I've personally been using IPv6 for about 3 years now with the free IPv6 tunnel service I'm using. I have my own /48.

jdbower 12/5/2012 | 5:38:47 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

IPv6 is one area where FiOS is sorely lacking compared to Comcast, they need to learn from the VZW side of the house with and IPv6 address on every 4G phone.  Although I wouldn't like the forced blocking of incoming IPv6 connection requests on my home PC like they do with my phone.

"I've personally been using IPv6 for about 3 years now with the free IPv6 tunnel service I'm using. I have my own /48."

Me too, but sadly I take a 13ms hit to get to my local pop so I'm looking forward to native v6 support.  One day someone will use a bunch of virtual PCs, routers, and switches to turn a /48 into 65536 virtual models of the c2012 Internet...

joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:38:47 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

I think the operative words in acohn's answer were "people who ask for them." Clearly there are plenty of people who believe it's important to have an IPv4 address and would specifically ask not to be given an IPv6 address because they perceive that IPv6 addresses involve too much of a hassle. Otherwise you wouldn't have had Nortel's trove of IPv4 addresses being sold for such a high sum.



fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 5:38:44 PM
re: Cable Giants Get Aggressive on IPv6

Rolling out IPv6 is a waste.  It merely shows that you are a sucker to a self-proclaimed "authority" that, when you look closely at it, make no more sense than a clown show.

There's very little traffic actually using IPv6.  Mostly it's obedient types, wanting to show their obeisance to IETF, who throw little things around the v6 networks just to show that they can.  But nobody puts a real web site or public service on v6 alone -- since so few peole have it, they have to put it on v4.  And since v4 reaches everything and v6 doesn't, there's no advantage to being on v6.  In other words, v6 can 't catch up, and thus will never be very useful.

The excuse for v6 is that there's a shortage of v4 addresses, but that too is made up.  To go from v4 to v6 you need a translating gateway, more comoplex than NAT. And NAT is not a bad thing.  NAT only breaks broken protocols (of which there are many, which usually also need fixing for v6).  It's a total misunderstanding of network architecture that leads to the conclusion that every device in the world needs its own unique IP address.  Most clients and embedded systems should remain in private adderss space (e.g., 10.x/8).

In the meantime, the IETF Department of Silly Walks keeps holding parades.

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