Broadband CPE now IPv6-ready

John C. Tanner
15 Apr 2011

After years of predictions and warnings that the internet will run out of IPv4 addresses, the news broke in February that the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) had allocated the last of the "slash-8" blocks of IPv4 addresses to each of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). APNIC (the RIR for Asia) received two slash-eight blocks, and expects to switch to a strict rationing policy before the end of this year.

"It's only a matter of time before the RIRs and ISPs must start denying requests for IPv4 address space,"said Raul Echeberria, chairman of the Number Resource Organization (NRO), the official representative of the five RIRs, in a statement. 'Employing IPv6 is now a requirement, not an option."

While the pressure is now officially on for everyone in the internet chain who hasn't made the transition to IPv6 to get moving, plenty haven't yet, for a variety of reasons.

For broadband access providers a key barrier to providing full IPv6 support to customers has been uneven support for IPv6 in CPE devices, due to lack of demand and no standards for implementing IPv6 in broadband CPE devices. But new CPE specs approved by the Broadband Forum industry group last month aim to clear that hurdle.

The forum's new BroadbandSuite 4.0 spec supports IPv6 from core to user, brings IPv6 to all TR-101 network deployments and allows remote management of IPv6 devices, says Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh.

"Cost of it was about making our architecture specs IPv6-ready for TR-101, and the rest was looking at the nodal requirements for IPv6, and a lot of work on CPE for TR-069," Mersh says.

Despite the BroadbandSuite 4.0 spec coming out a month after the IANA announcement, Mersh says the timing was more a matter of luck.

"Then we started working on this a couple of years ago, we were aiming for it to come out around now. We'd love to say we timed it that way on purpose, but really it just turned out that way," he admits.


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