IPv6's Long March

Updated:2008/8/27 13:17

With the thousands of IPv6 controlled lights dimming over the 2008 Olympics, the long march on the road to IPv6 continues as the Olympic IPv6 Workout enters history. The early objective of full commercial deployment for 2008 proved elusive and more realistic goals were set and met with success. Not wasting any time, the starting shot toward commercial deployment followed on the heels of the closing ceremony with the august 25th NDRC announcement urging the vigorous promotion of a commercial trial, increasing the number of IPv6 trial users to 500,000 by 2010 and to start mass production of IPv6 equipment. A logical next phase, indeed, as the IPv6 only CNGI has a 40 city coverage and massive bandwidth, but is still underutilized, while the old commercial IPv4 internet is sometimes bursting at the seams. Even in China it takes time to see the ISP's seriously start the transition on their commercial networks.

Exactly five years ago, in august 2003, NDRC launched the bidding process for CNGI which was deployed a year later and included all major carriers and CERnet, China's Education and Research Network. It would be prudent to assume that the new objective of 500,000 trial users by 2010 will be achieved; after all, with 210 million internet users, China pole vaulted past the USA, not to mention that China also holds the number one title in mobile with 560 million subscribers.

Does this mean that the USA is hopelessly behind in IPv6 deployment as has been so often postulated? Not so sure. Prodded more than a little bit by the DoD and DoC mandates and even more so by the 20 billion dollar of Networx contracts, all major ISP's in the USA have announced full commercial support of IPv6 by 2009-2010. The well publicised Comcast cable network IPv6 deployment, the Bechtel corporate IPv6 initiative or the Archrock sensor network products extend the effort beyond the traditional ISP environment and into the whole ecosystem.

Japan who is the undisputed leader in domestic commercial IPv6 deployment and IPv6 enabled end devices, has not yet started a real effort to translate this early advantage into successful export product lines. There is also still a chance that Europe will surprise everybody as they now offer a most competitive telecom market place. A total outsider could even surprise everybody.

The IPv6 finish line could be reached in another four years in London, let the Games continue.



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