Comcast sees end of IPv4 tunnel, beginning IPv6 trial

By Iljitsch van Beijnum | Last updated January 29, 2010 6:34 AM

Comcast is asking for volunteers to participate in its upcoming IPv6 trials. The cable ISP has been participating in IPv6 circles for a long time and with its huge subscriber base, it is experiencing the IPv4 address scarcity first-hand. So far, it has been able to get addresses for its customers—but not for those customers’ cable modems and set-top-boxes. These also need addresses to function or to be managed. No problem, right? Just use private IPv4 addresses, such as the 10 network, which holds 16.8 million addresses. But with 25 million TV, 15 million ISP, and 6 million Comcast Digital Voice subscribers, 16.8 million private addresses isn’t enough for a regular management system in which a management station can directly connect to each managed device. So Comcast needs IPv6 just to run its internal network effectively now.

We’re also running out of IPv4 addresses, so at some point in the future, Comcast will be unable to obtain additional addresses to connect new customers. So Comcast also needs to provide IPv6 service to its customers at some point and is looking for willing subjects to give it a try.