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RSPs not demanding IPv6 services on NBN

Stephanie McDonald | July 9, 2013
Australia has continued to lag on IPv6 uptake

Demand from retail service providers for IPv6 services on the National Broadband Network (NBN) has been low, according to Tom Sykes from NBN Co.

The government-owned company has implemented IPv6 capability for Internet data services, but it is still looking into IPv6 for UNI-V voice connections and multicasting for video content.

"It's safe to say we haven't had a strong demand from RSPs for that because most RSPs today, when they deploy UNI-V, they're using private IP addresses ... even the very large providers using UNI-V haven't requested this in the short-term," Sykes, manager — customer solutions group at NBN Co, told Computerworld Australia.

IPv6 provides around 340 undecillion IP addresses, compared to 4 billion addresses under IPv4. As the number of Internet-connected devices has grown, exhaustion of IPv4 addresses has necessitated the adoption of IPv6.

A shortage of IPv4 addresses has been problematic for at least one RSP looking to sign up customers on the NBN. Victorian co-operative No ISP has struggled to sign up customers to the NBN due to a shortage of available IPv4 addresses.

Eventually the City of Melbourne came to the rescue, with the council agreeing to lease a number of IP addresses to the co-op for three years.

One year after World IPv6 Launch Day, Australia continues to lag behind other countries in IPv6 uptake.

Sykes said one of the problems with IPv6 uptake is providers don't have a sense of urgency around the transition because there are band-aid measures, such as carrier-grade NAT, that can be used to defer the switchover.

"Another reason is that many of the ISPs have got a stash of IPv4 addresses that they can use. So there's probably a few factors there," Sykes said.

NBN Co announced IPv6 compatibility for data services on the NBN around 18 months ago. To make the transition, NBN Co modified its signal equipment to RSPs.

"We needed to make some changes and have our equipment vendor, which is Alcatel-Lucent, make some changes on their hardware, which we did. That just took some time complete, so we've done that," Sykes said. "It was really dependent on our vendors to make those changes."

Sykes said he was unable to say how much NBN Co has spent on making equipment IPv6 compatible as the cost would have been rolled into total vendor requests.

Sykes said so far the main focus for NBN Co has been on IPv6 compatibility for data services on the NBN, with challenges for NBN Co implementing IPv6 for multicasting, including a lack of standards.

Another challenge is there is no other wholesaler in the world offering the new Internet protocol on multicast, according to Sykes.

 

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