Internode will move to a native internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) production environment later this year, following an extensive public trial that included more than 200 “power users”.
The Adelaide-based service provider became one of the first in Australia to offer a trial environment in November 2009, following the upgrade of its backbone network to IPv6 during 2008.
According to managing director, Simon Hackett, the trial enabled between 200 and 220 users to access mail and websites through IPv6 at any one time.
Internode’s carrier relations manager, John Lindsay, told Computerworld Australia that most residential users currently on the trial were “hardcore techie”, though the provider hopes the transition will be easy across its entire customer base.
The migration this year will enable dual stack IPv6 capability for all aspects of Internode’s broadband, Web, mail and hosting services. During the transition, new and existing Internode users must opt in to use the IPv6 environment, but the service provider intends to offer the service to users automatically by the end of the year.
Lindsay said Internode had to overcome several challenges prior to offering an IPv6 production environment, including address space and routing table management.
“You’re suddenly having to double the number of routes that you are carrying on an access server that’s carrying v6 as well as v4 and v6 addresses are larger, so they actually chew up more of the content addressable memory that routers use for routing tables,” he said.
As a result, the provider has spent the last year upgrading its core routers for capability across its entire customer base.
Despite Internode’s continued progression toward IPv6 locally, it is yet to be joined by other major providers in Australia in offering such a service publicly.
The final allocation of addresses under the existing IPv4 protocol is expected to occur this week when the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) automatically hands out the final five blocks of addresses under the outgrown standard to each of the five regional internet registries.
These will be allocated to individual service providers and businesses in lots of /22 - or 1024 unique addresses - in order to slow exhaustion.
The death knell for IPv4 follows the allocation of the final two “general use” address blocks to Asia Pacific registry APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) earlier this week.
While global and regional registries are expected to exhaust their allocation sometime this year, Hackett indicated Internode had enough IPv4 stock to last up to five years.
One obstacle to IPv6 transition for residential users has been the lack of supported modems and routers. Internode intends to only sell IPv6-capable equipment from this year, with the launch of the FRITZ!Box proving one such attempt.
iiNet will also offer IPv6 capability when it releases its BoB Lite modem router - a product of its in-house research and development facility.
“If the Internet engineering community gets this right, our customers won’t notice anything at all,” Hackett said in a statement.
Follow James Hutchinson on Twitter: @j_hutch
Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU