The New Zealand IPv6 Task Force has identified the availability of consumer Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) as a major inhibitor for the supply of IPv6 services from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and Telecommunication Service Provider (TSP) community in New Zealand.

The reluctance to offer IPv6 capable services was identified from a recent survey undertaken of this community. While a high proportion of these service providers were actively preparing for the adoption of IPv6 there was much less activity in the market.

Given this background, the Task Force has been actively trying to determine the status of IPv6 compatible CPE especially for the consumer market. This has been an activity which has been identified for some time, but with the recent focus on this issue as an inhibitor to adoption we have placed increased emphasis on this issue. Almost all CPE supplied into the New Zealand consumer market comes from overseas sources so it is considered important to determine the status of equipment compatibility from these sources.

It was not surprising that this issue has also arisen in other markets around the world so we have tracked down some related activity being undertaken by our sister organizations around the world. Some useful links to the current status of this activity are provided below:

IPv6 CPE Survey – Updated (January 2011)

Customer problems that could occur

IPv6 Broadband CPE  – Routers/Wireless Access Points

IPv6 Readiness – Preparing for the Inevitable

Please use the information associated with these links with care as the status of any suppliers equipment appears to be under continual change at present. Hence it is essential that purchasers of such equipment undertake their own due diligence in the short term at least and only use this information for guidance.

We have known since February 2011 that the Broadband Forum has updated its specifications to include IPv6 adoption. What we are seeing now is the slow but certain progress of these specifications into recent product releases, both for new products and firmware upgrades.

The above links show that the implementations across consumer CPE are still highly variable, but there has been a marked improvement in the availability of IPv6 compatible CPE over the last 6 months. Based on this trend we are very hopeful that the next 6 months will see a definitive improvement in the CPE situation, globally. We would then expect that this improvement in the supply chain would then promulgate into the New Zealand retail market.

Certainly the retail market in New Zealand is not there yet. A quick sample of retail stores in Wellington didn’t offer a very attractive picture. Hopefully this will change over the next 6-12 months. The Task Force will also work with consumer agencies to help ensure that consumers are not left with stranded hardware, as the market evolves into the Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) era. The transition to the UFB will require a change-out of consumer CPE, so it is an ideal opportunity to ensure that the new UFB compatible CPE is also IPv6 compatible.

The Task Force will continue to seek out the latest information concerning CPE support for IPv6.

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