The transition to IPv6 has picked up some urgency of late, considering IPv4 addresses theoretically are running out. Comcast is the latest service provider to outline IPv6 plans, announcing through their blog today that they have activated their first group of ‘Native Dual Stack’ cable modems. These activations allow designated cable modem customers to access content and services natively using both IPv4 and IPv6.
According to Comcast “…these are the first Native Dual Stack users activated in a production DOCSIS network in North America!” They seem quite proud of that achievement. Comcast began the transition among a group of 25 cable modem users earlier this month in Littleton, Colorado. They’ve since expanded their native stack footprint to additional markets in Colorado, and hope to soon take it to markets outside of Colorado.
Transitioning to IPv6 is a process all service providers will need to undertake at some point. Contingencies include network address translation (NAT) or ‘tunneling’ methods for IPv4 legacy subscribers who interact in an IPv6 world. In an IPv4 world, IP addresses only number about 3.7 billion — not nearly enough in today’s digital world with most Internet connected devices now needing an IP address. IPv6 takes the IP address allotment up to 340 trillion, trillion, trillion. Let’s just say it’s a lot. Enough to at least last until they run out again.