IPv6 transition requires support from vendors

Jessica Scarpati
SearchTelecom.com
Operators can do only so much when deploying IPv6 to ensure a smooth transition from IPv4. While most operators seem to be on track with updating their infrastructure for IPv6 readiness, their overall success with the transition will also depend on cooperation from vendors, content providers and other network providers. They must pressure these partners to support the transition or risk service problems, customer dissatisfaction and sluggish returns on investment (ROI).
 
Comcast Corp has been testing and deploying IPv6 equipment and services for the past five years to ensure a "seamless" transition for subscribers and to meet its 2011 goal of starting to distribute IPv6 addresses to consumers en masse, according to John Jason Brzozowski, distinguished engineer and chief architect of IPv6 work at Comcast.
 
But all those years of work on routing tables, network design and back-end systems upgrades will be worthless if content providers don't upgrade their Web servers to be IPv6 capable soon, Brzozowski said.
 
"Being ahead of the curve a bit here, we find things perhaps sooner than other people do, and one of the things is the [lack of] availability and access to content over IPv6," he said. "A lot of the content networks and content providers really need to ramp up and enable v6 because if we provide connectivity and service to people's homes and there's nothing to be consumed, this is a bit of a challenge."
 
Brzozowski's concerns have eased over the last year as more large content providers have begun deploying IPv6. Earlier this year, Facebook and Google, which includes YouTube, went public with their IPv6 readiness. Netflix began streaming content over IPv6 last year, and eBay officials have said they are deploying IPv6 internally first, with plans to support IPv6 on their site next year. Meanwhile, the pool of IPv4 addresses is expected to dry up in less than a year, according to John Curran, CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN).
 

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