Apr 25, 2012

IPv6 Home Networking Pilot Market Deployment Technical Details

Comcast has launched support for IPv6-enabled customer home networking, the second of two phases for our initial rollout of IPv6. This phase builds upon our earlier work where we enabled IPv6 support for standalone computers. By now enabling IPv6 support for home networking customers (those using a home gateway / router), in areas where we have launched, customers can now able to take advantage of and begin using IPv6. Our launch of IPv6-enabled customer home networking is also critical to our participation in World IPv6 Launch; see the World IPv6 Launch site for more information.

Comcast's IPv6 launches so far have leveraged reliable and high performance CMTSes from Arris. Comcast continues to work with its other network equipment vendors to ensure production grade IPv6 support is available to all of Comcast customers. In particular we are working closely with Cisco and expect that their CMTS platform will soon be ready to support IPv6 reliably and at scale in production, so that our deployment can expand beyond our Arris CMTS footprint.

As part of our initial launch, Comcast has tested a subset of home networking equipment to help ensure our customers continue to have the best possible broadband experience during the transition to IPv6. Comcast is pleased to note that D-Link products have been widely used as part of our trials and initial production deployment. For a more complete list of home networking devices and cable modems we have tested please visit MyDeviceInfo for regular updates. It is important to note that while some home gateway vendors say their product is IPv6-compatible, this may only be partial IPv6 support and may not mean that a native dual stack configuration is possible. We work closely with home networking vendors and the consumer electronics community to ensure the greatest level of IPv6 compatibility for our common customers. Support for stateful DHCPv6 continues to be a critical requirement as we launch customer home networking support for IPv6.

With this milestone Comcast will provide foundational support for IPv6, which we expect to expand and evolve over time. The initial launch of IPv6 customer home networking supports the allocation or delegation of an IPv6 prefix that is by default a /64 in length. Based on our testing and the capabilities of devices today we felt that allocating prefixes of this length balances earlier deployment of IPv6 with advanced deployment configurations for the home. We remain committed to enhancing our support for IPv6 customer home networking beginning later in 2012. As we evolve our deployment for nationwide rollout in 2012, we plan to update our IPv6 allocations to provide shorter prefixes based on the type of service and/or devices in use by our subscribers, as well as the prefix size their device requests. We believe that offering a range of shorter prefix lengths is important to our customers, as this can enable multiple networks and some exciting potential new home networking services.

Native dual stack support remains central to Comcast deployment of IPv6, which means that customers who are enabled with IPv6 for home networking will be provisioned with IPv6 in addition to IPv4. This approach allows us to avoid the near term use of other types of transition technologies like tunnel and large scale Network Address Translation (NAT). Our experience and industry best practices continue to suggest that native dual stack offers the best path to a seamless IPv6 transition and an optimal customer experience, which is paramount to Comcast.

For a strategic view of this announcement, check out this complementary blog post today from Jason Livingood.

Tags : IPv6, IPv6 home networking, IPv6 technical details, Network


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