"We're encouraging content providers and application developers to do IPv6," Schiller says. "If things don't change, if there is still a large gap between the IPv6 and IPv4 Internet, then the first organization that has to go IPv6 only won't be able to do much. They'll have to go through a translation box such as IPv4 carrier-grade [network address translation] or IPv6/IPv4 translation services that are not going to perform well."
Last week, Verizon announced that it had upgraded its high-end Internet access services in Europe and Asia to support native IPv6 traffic, dual-stack configurations with IPv6 and IPv4 running side-by-side, and IPv6 tunneled over IPv4 networks. Verizon plans to offer these same capabilities in Canada and Latin America by year-end.
"This gives us a much more global capability with IPv6, which is becoming more important with the IANA announcement of IPv4 depletion," says Kevin Mardis, Internet Dedicated Services product manager at Verizon.
Since 2007, Verizon has offered tunneled and dual-stack IPv6 services in the United States based on a transition mechanism known as 6PE, which runs IPv6 over an IPv4-based Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network.
"A few years back, we deployed 6PE, which leverages MPLS in the core of the network to carry IPv6. We did that for our initial deployment because we wanted to gain more of a comfort level with IPv6. We didn't want to go ahead and put it in our core," Schiller explains. "Now that we've gotten a much higher comfort level, we plan to roll that out to the U.S. core as well, probably by the end of the year."
Verizon said it will offer comparable features, usage and flat-rate pricing for IPv6 services that it already offers for IPv4 services. One difference is that Verizon is not yet offering quality-of-service capabilities for IPv6.
Verizon said it has hundreds of IPv6 customers, including content providers and government agencies, in the United States.
"A lot of customers who host their own content or applications, or customers that are interested in cached content, are now looking at IPv6," Mardis says. "We see them starting to acquire and adopt IPv6 on some circuits as they test it out and determine how they are going to deploy IPv6."
Mardis says Verizon upgraded its backbone network in Europe and Asia Pacific to enable IPv6 due to demand from both U.S.-based multinational corporations as well as businesses in those regions that are looking for IPv6-based connectivity.
Verizon said that the number of existing IPv4 customers who are inquiring about IPv6 has doubled in the last year.
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