Telstra rolls out IPv6 for business, government

Telstra has begun its roll out of Internet Protocol Version six (IPv6) for enterprise, government and wholesale customers. BigPond customers won't be offered IPv6 at this stage.

Transport and routing director, David Robertson, said in a statement that the deployment of IPv6 into the network was an ongoing program of work.

"We’ll make this available for other networks such as digital subscriber line [DSL] and our wireless networks over time," Robertson said.

However, he did confirm that its internet backbone was now fully dual-stacked. This meant that Telstra’s enterprise, government and wholesale internet customers could be connected with either IPv4 or IPv6.

"If customers choose to opt-in to IPv6, they will have access to the global IPv6 internet, including connectivity to multiple providers internationally," he said.

In-depth: IPv6 technology guide.

“Currently IPv4 offers 32 bits for an internet address, with IPv6 an internet address has 128 bits. This means that with IPv4 there were about 4 billion internet addresses, with IPv6 there are more internet addresses than grains of sand on the planet."

According to Robertson, while 4 billion sounded "like a lot of internet addresses", it expected to run out of these globally in the next few years.

"In many ways this is like when we went from nine-digit telephone numbers to 10-digit telephone numbers in the early 1990s, with IPv6 we’re expanding the available number of addresses” Robertson said.

According to Robertson, the advantage for customers is that they could opt into IPv6 in their own time, taking into account the lifecycle upgrade of their existing equipment.

"Most customers won’t notice the change to IPv6 as we will make this as seamless as possible to our customers," he aid.

"In coming years we expect that IPv6 will become the norm and customers will need to opt-out if they wish to use IPv4."

However, in the early phases of the transition, the telco would be working directly with customers to support them as they made the change.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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