Internode may be alone for some time in IPv6 trial

Large ISPs report no intentions to run IPv6 trials in the short term despite research suggesting IPv4 addresses to run out within three years

IPv6 will take over from the legacy IPv4

IPv6 will take over from the legacy IPv4

Internode is going it alone in offering a trial of IPv6 services in native mode on its national ADSL network as other large ISPs report they won't be following suit in the near future.

Internode recently announced an IPv6 trial across the company's national network and provides concurrent IPv6 and IPv4 PPP access for any router or computer that supports it.

In the wake of shinking IPv4 space, there have been several calls for more adoption of IPv6, including from Internet pioneer, Vinton Cerf — but there has been little action to date.

And aside from Internode's trial, there doesn’t appear to be much concern among Australia's ISP community.

iiNet, Exetel, BigAir and iPrimus told Computerworld they have no immediate plans to undertake an IPv6 trial, although iPrimus said it is considering it. AAPT said an IPv6 trial was "under investigation".

Optus would not comment, while Telstra's responded: "Telstra has been planning for this transition for a number of years. We have a well-defined transition strategy and a comprehensive IPv6 implementation program underway". It would not clarify whether the implementation program would involve an IPv6 trial in the near term.

At a consumer, residential broadband level it is more a novelty than anything at this stage

iiNet chief technology officer, Greg Bader, said the ISP's network supports IPv6 but there was not enough customer premises equipment (CPE) available to warrant a service at this stage.

"We have a massive roadmap in front of us of things to do. IPv6 to customers is on there, but it is well down the list in terms of priorities," Bader said. "We want to deliver things that are offering real value to customers — IPTV et cetera. That said, obviously as we build our networks, our core infrastructure, all of that is capable and most of the equipment that is shipped today is capable.

"It's really a question of us putting in the effort to manage the allocation of v6 address space and we will do that. I'd like to think that if it ever came down to a day where IPv4 ceases to exist, we need three to six months notice to modify all of our internal provisioning and management systems to cater for it. At this stage CPE is too expensive and there is no real demand. At a consumer, residential broadband level it is more a novelty than anything at this stage."

Bader also pointed to research conducted by Arbor Networks that states by the end of July 2008, tunnelled IPv6 traffic accounted for a tiny 0.0026 per cent of overall IPv4 traffic.

Research undertaken by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), however, points out that experts estimate IPv4 addresses will run out in 2011 or early 2012 based on current trends.

According to the OECD report, Australia is in the top five countries in terms of the number of allocated IPv6 addresses distributed, along with the US, Germany, France and Japan.

“Australia has taken a lead in deploying IPv6 networks. The Australian Government Information Management Office has a revised strategy for the transition to IPv6 which will see the Australian Government agencies being IPv6-capable by the end of 2012,” the report states.

Australia allocated 54 IPv6 prefixes in 2008. The only country to have added more IPv6 addresses was the US, which allocated 221 IPv6 addresses. Worldwide, a total of 1004 IPv6 addresses were added in 2008, according to the report.

Yet, the report says "there is a need for all network operators to upgrade to a new Internet scheme, Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6)."

Next: Internode's comments

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