Runnin' on IPv4 Empty

With available new IPv4 addresses dwindling down to fumes, the transition to IPv6 looms large. Despite challenges, cable's transition appears to be shaping up nicely. Actually, "transition" is a bit of a misnomer in that moving to IPv6 is less a matter of rep...

Content Dam Btr Migrated 2011 02 Gasgaugeempty Wide
Gasgaugeempty WideWith available new IPv4 addresses dwindling down to fumes, the transition to IPv6 looms large. Despite challenges, cable's transition appears to be shaping up nicely.

Actually, "transition" is a bit of a misnomer in that moving to IPv6 is less a matter of replacing IPv4 than one of adding to it: IPv4 won't be going away any time soon, so the two versions will have to coexist for some time. For an overview of what that means and some of the challenges involved, check out our IPv6 Countdown Thought Leadership Video.

Though the upgrade process contains lots of moving parts, recent news indicates that cable's transition will be smooth: Vendors have gear ready, operators have been conducting trials, and CableLabs is confident.

In a recent statement, CableLabs President and CEO Paul Liao said, in part, "Cable operators will minimize the effects of the transition on end users, and ultimately to ensure superb customer experiences over the widest range of devices."

The cable industry has been working on its IPv6 transition plans for some time. CableLabs started updating its specs in 2004 and recently stated that cable's well-positioned for the change-over. Comcast recently announced a "dual stack" plan in which IPv4 and v6 will coexist. Time Warner Cable also has been conducting dual stack trials, and Cox announced it was ready for IPv6 back in mid-November.

The vendor space has also been busy. New products compliant with IPv6 and updates to existing lines have recently been announced by VeEx (test gear), Incognito (provisioning), Cisco (line card), ARRIS (CMTS), Cheetah (end-of-line monitor) and many others. The SCTE also has highlighted its training and educational materials related to IPv6.

Ron Hendrickson is a reporter at BTR. Contact him at ron@broadbandtechreport.com.
More in DOCSIS