Comcast6.net Deprecated IPv6 Trial FAQ

IPv6 Trial FAQs - Historical Information

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Beginning in 2010 we began conducting several IPv6 technical trials in our production network, with customers, in order to prepare for the IPv6 transition. These FAQs were developed at that time and are retained here for historical information only. We have now started the first phase of deployment, which is a pilot market launch. You can see the new FAQs related to that latest phase here.

 

 
What is this?
How will you select trial areas?
How will you select customers to participate in these trials?
What are the details for each trial?
How do you see transition to IPv6 evolving long term?
Will customers need to make changes to their computers or home equipment to support IPv6? How seamless is this going to be for customers?
How are you planning on handling the transition of DNS services? What are the challenges here?
Do you expect significant adoption of IPv6 in 2010?
Do you expect these trials to be seamless and error-free?

What is this?
We are announcing our plan to conduct IPv6-related technical trials with customers in 2010.

How will you select trial areas?
Some of our trials will not be geographically-bound, meaning a customer from anywhere in our network could participate, while other trials will be bound to particular areas.

How will you select customers to participate in these trials?
Customers can volunteer to participate in a trial by completing an online form at the Comcast IPv6 Information Center, at http://68.87.26.84/comcast6/index.php/volunteer. Once we're ready to start a trial, we will search for customers meeting any applicable criteria for participation (geographic area, home computer OS or equipment, etc.) and invite them to participate in a specific trial.

What are the details for each trial?
Please see our main information page at http://www.comcast6.net.

How do you see transition to IPv6 evolving long term?
We hope to help further catalyze IPv6 transition preparation and technology development in the Internet community, as well as to do advance work in order to ensure our customers and services are ready for the transition and can make that transition as seamlessly as possible. We envision the transition to IPv6 within ISP networks to generally occur in three phases:
- Phase 1: The ISP network or CPE does not support IPv6, only IPv4 addresses are issued, and in order to access IPv6 resources a user must tunnel IPv6 traffic over IPv4. In our network, this may be a very short time or may be skipped altogether, but it is important to explore cases where portions of the ISP network or CPE cannot transition to native IPv6 support for whatever reason. Trial #1 focuses on this phase using 6RD technology.
- Phase 2: Native IPv4 and IPv6, also known as dual-stack, supported in CPE, where both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses are issued. This is an important phase to evaluate and it will likely persist in ISP networks for an extended period of time, probably several years, until IPv4 addresses are severely constrained or are no longer available. While we hope to have a solution for each transition phase, this one is the most important for us and our customers. Trials #2 and #4 focus on this phase, for residential and business services, respectively.
- Phase 3: IPv6-only service, when only IPv6 addresses are issued by the ISP network and new IPv4 addresses are no longer available. This is probably some time off in the future, though when it occurs it is likely that access to IPv4-only resources may involve tunneling IPv4 traffic over IPv6. Trial #3 focuses on this phase using the DS-Lite technology.

Will customers need to make changes to their computers or home equipment to support IPv6? How seamless is this going to be for customers?
That's one of the things we're hoping to learn from the trials. We'll be exploring some solutions that don't require end-user changes, as well as others that do require some changes. This will help us determine the best user experience for our customers.

How are you planning on handling the transition of DNS services? What are the challenges here?
Our DNS servers, both authoritative and caching, support IPv6 today in our network, so they are fully IPv6-ready. However, when our caching servers respond to user queries for domain names, we will depend on authoritative servers on the Internet providing an IPv6 response (such as an AAAA record) in order to provide an IPv6 response. Some in the industry have proposed whitelisting DNS caches, such that an authoritative server operator must add the IP addresses of IPv6-capable DNS resolvers (caches) to a list for which IPv6 responses are enabled. We do not believe this scales well in the long-term, but we can see why it may be useful in short-term. As a result, we will share our DNS server IP addresses with any domains that operate such whitelists. Since the IP addresses of our servers are publicly known, any group that implemented such a whitelist could add our servers. Those groups need not contact us or seek our permission to do so. Our authoritative servers will operate without a whitelist initially, just as they do for IPv4 queries today, unless we experience problems that require a change in that policy.

Do you expect significant adoption of IPv6 in 2010?
We do not expect significant, widespread adoption of IPv6 in 2010. We believe that IPv6 deployment will begin at scale when IPv4 exhaustion is more of a concern, potentially in 2011 or 2012. However, in order for 2011 to represent the start of widespread adoption, critical work such as our trials must be conducted in 2010.

Do you expect these trials to be seamless and error-free?
No - that's why we conduct trials. Our objective is to end up with an approach to the IPv6 transition which is seamless to our customers, conducting trials lets us identify and fix issues sooner.