Telstra charts steady IPv6 course

By Campbell Gardiner

Australian telco Telstra is making steady progress with the adoption of IPv6 across its suite of service offerings.

Speaking at the Australian IPv6 Summit, Telstra’s David Woodgate says its business and enterprise-grade products are tracking well from an IPv6 perspective. These customers can take advantage of IPv6 over ethernet, IPv6 for IP VPNs and IPv6-supported DoS protection. There is also a managed secure network gateway which has been dual-stacked, and IPv6-supported ADSL will soon be available for its enterprise, government and business services.

Consumer is lagging however, with lack of IPv6 support in CPE still a major issue. Moreover, as Woodgate points out, “If you force IPv6 on millions of customers at once it’s risky for business. A controlled release is needed”. He says that consumers don’t care about whether their connections are IPv4 or IPv6. They just want them to work.

In a promising sign of things to come the company has been running a single stack IPv6 trial on its wireless LTE network. And Woodgate reassured the audience that Telstra will soon have its principal portals running on IPv6, along with its managed services, VPN extensions and machine to machine applications. Any new product development will, as a matter of course, also incorporate IPv6 compatibility, he says.

With respect to industry uptake of IPv6, Woodgate sketched out four ‘phases’ – experimentation, early implementation, transition and completion.

Prior to 2010, the industry was largely experimenting with IPv6. That experimentation phase, he says, is now dead.

Industry is now dabbling in the early implementation phase, where ISPs become serious about IPv6 build. Overall, IPv6 traffic is still relatively low, but providers are obtaining valuable experience about how to run IPv6 properly in their networks.

Next is the transition phase, which Woodgate says is yet to truly arrive. While there will still be a large IPv4 presence, IPv6-only offerings will increasingly be seen, along with dual stack content and significant amounts of IPv6 traffic. IPv6 will also come as standard on CPE.

Finally, comes the completion phase, in which IPv6 is preferred. There will be IPv6-only content, and a reducing amount of IPv4. This phase is some way off picks Woodgate, likely to be well into the next decade.

Telstra is seeing more dual stack deployed globally and in Australia, but this remains the exception rather than the rule, says Woodgate. He predicts more IPv6 adoption pressure points arriving as the European Registry RIPE exhausts its IPv4 supply and APNIC navigates the aftermath of its recent exhaustion.

Watch this space …

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