Comcast Begins Move to IPv6

Wholesale customers get a choice, but the ISP isn't phasing out IPv4 any time soon.

 By Sean Michael Kerner
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Comcast is making a move to IPv6, making IPv6 transit services available to its wholesale customers.

This a significant development because in less than two years, the IPv4 address space will be exhausted, but it doesn't mean there won't be any more Internet addresses. IPv4 has a 32-bit address size, allowing for only 4.3 billion addresses. In contrast, IPv6 is a 128-bit address space allowing for a staggering 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 possible addresses.

"IPv6 is beginning to become a requirement, although usage is relatively low today," Barry Tishgart, VP of Internet Services for Comcast told InternetNews.com. "Some customers are making decisions on the basis of future traffic growth and that's why IPv6 is increasingly important."

There have been some questions raised about the business case for IPv6 in the Internet community. The U.S. Government has also begun to transition to IPv6 with an IPv6 ready mandate that was instituted in 2008.

For Comcast's wholesale customers, which include Web hosting providers, the business case is one of choice and availability. The new IPv6 services from Comcast are being offered at the same price as Comcast's existing IPv4 services. Tishgart explained that wholesale transit pricing is usage-based regardless of whether v4 or v6 protocols are used. He added that billing is based on the aggregate traffic.

While IPv6 represents the future of the Internet, Comcast will not be transitioning any part of its network entirely away from IPv4 anytime soon.

Read the rest at InternetNews.com.
This article was originally published on Jun 18, 2009
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