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IPv6 on home routers: FAIL

Julie Bort | March 4, 2011
When it comes to IPv6 support, consumer home networking gear lags far behind other devices, like enterprise equipment and PC operating systems. Most devices certified as IPv6-compliant by the IPv6 Forum are full of implementation bugs, experts say.

"We're using the D-Link DIR-655 in our private trial, and feedback from customers has been very positive," shares Bulk. "We'd like to offer our trial customers a few other vendors to choose from, but other than Apple (which I have yet to test), I've found no other consumer-grade IPv6-ready routers in the market."

To be sure, the foot-dragging on the part of consumer equipment makers won't exactly cause an Internet Armageddon.

Homes and small business that currently have IPv4-only routers will be OK for the next couple of years, says Doyle. "For existing users, the impact should be minimal -- they already have IPv4 addresses, so there should be no problems. It's new users that will need IPv6-capable routers (or DSL modems or cable modems), and it will be up to the broadband providers to be sure they are using the right units. Eventually existing users can be retrofitted, either through firmware upgrades or through normal purchase of new routers that have IPv6 capability."

Still, it's aggravating that it's the network gear makers themselves holding things up.

Ultimately, few can disagree with Cerf's take on the matter: "It's important to get both protocols running smoothly at home. Already laptops and desktops have the capability. It's usually firewall, the NAT box and maybe the broadband modem that you have at home that haven't been configured for IPv6. So when we turn on IPv6 on a worldwide basis on June 8 as a 24-hour test (World IPv6 Day), I'm sure there will be things that don't work and those need to be addressed (no pun intended). I would much rather see a concerted effort to get everybody up and running on IPv6, and then the transition is smooth at that point because it doesn't matter if the destination is running IPv4 or 6 -- everyone can talk to everyone. That would be the desirable outcome."


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