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Comcast Proposes Its IPv6 Transition Solution to IETF, Invites ISPs to Participate

Comcast, the largest cable operator in the U.S., is reported to have developed an innovative approach for gradually migrating its customers to IPv6. The company has 24.7 million cable customers, 14.1 million broadband customers and 5.2 million voice customers. The solution dubbed Dual-Stack Lite, is backwards compatible with IPv4 and can be deployed incrementally according the company.

Comcast has submitted this proposal to the Internet standards body, Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) which has scheduled a review during the upcoming IETF meeting in Dublin later this month. From the Comcast document submitted to IETF:

The common thinking for the last 10+ years has been that the transition to IPv6 will be based on the dual stack model and that most things would be converted this way before we ran out of IPv4.

It has not happened. The IANA free pool of IPv4 addresses will be depleted soon, way before any significant IPv6 deployment will have occurred.

This document revisits the dual-stack model and introduces the dual- stack lite technology aimed at better aligning the cost and the benefits of deploying IPv6. It will provide the necessary bridge between the two protocols, offering an evolution path of the Internet.

"This is not something that is a Comcast-only solution. This is something that we are working with the rest of the industry on," says Alain Durand, director of Internet governance and IPv6 architecture at Comcast. "I have had a number of discussions with service providers around the world, especially in Japan and Europe, who are very interested in something like this."

Read full story: Network World

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Could we *please* stop with the "Foo has submitted Bar to the IETF stories"? By Paul Hoffman  –  Jul 22, 2008 2:13 pm PST

The fact that there is a first draft by someone who works at company Foo in the IETF drafts directory is meaningless. There are a zillion of them.

Alain works for Comcast, but he has already said that he wants to work with others on this. Thus, his employer becomes irrelevant.

Further, this is not meant to initially become a standard. It is being submitted as information so that people can think about the topic more and maybe do some experimenting.

The company is significant By Kjetil Torgrim Homme  –  Jul 23, 2008 1:32 am PST

The story would not be interesting if it was about some employee who happened to work at Comcast submitting a draft.  Luckily, the real story here is that Comcast, the second largest ISP in the US, is actively working to roll out IPv6 for their customers.  Hurrah!

Reaching out to the IETF community is win-win — Comcast gets their plan reviewed for technical problems, and the IETF gets better insight in the real world problems of deployment.  (Note, I have only skimmed the draft.)

The solution is significant By Paul Hoffman  –  Jul 23, 2008 7:04 am PST

It's nice that Comcast is working to roll out IPv6, but that's not the topic of the story. The story is about a specific solution. Notice that the article said "Durand points out that Comcast has not yet committed to using Dual-Stack Lite internally".

Right, they haven't committed to By Kjetil Torgrim Homme  –  Jul 23, 2008 8:01 am PST

Right, they haven't committed to using Dual-Stack Lite, but they are actively pursuing a solution which will bring IPv6 to their customers.  They are taking a leadership role among US ISPs (academia excluded), and this was news to me, at least.

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