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News 10 years of IPv6

20th August 2012: Andrews & Arnold are pleased to announce that we have now been providing IPv6 services for 10 years.

Leading edge

Our first IPv6 allocation from RIPE was issued on 20th August 2002 and we immediately routed this to our first IPv6 customer.

10 years ago IPv6 was leading edge, with very few companies offering any IPv6 services, and almost nobody offering it to consumers. At the time, only a few A&A customers took up IPv6 and it was very experimental.

Over the years it has become more and more mainstream. The FireBrick team incorporated full IPv6 PPP support as part of the equipment we deployed around 5 years ago - marking the end of our dedicated IPv6 gateway box and making IPv6 a standard feature.

Nowadays almost everything supports IPv6, from mobile phones, to iPads, windows, mac and linux - even network printers.

The current Internet Protocol

Since the older IPv4 addresses ran out in Feb 2011 (with the last blocks being handed out by IANA), and the first regional registry (APNIC) running out a few months later, IPv6 has been taken much more seriously.

Early 2011 A&A started allocating an IPv6 block to all new customers as standard rather than as an option, and before World IPv6 Day in June 2011, we started shipping IPv6 capable wifi broadband routers as standard at no extra cost.

All new customers are connected with IPv6 now, and A&A servers are available via IPv6. For us the World IPv6 Launch event in June 2012 was a non-event, everything carried on as normal while many Internet services had IPv6 turned on permanently.

IPv6 is very much the current Internet Protocol. It is not new (specified in 1995). It is not difficult. It is the future. It is now!

The internet is changing

Major players in the Internet like Google and Facebook are providing their services via IPv6 already, and even games like World of Warcraft now work on IPv6. The Internet is already changing to the current Internet Protocol.

Dragging their heels

In spite of the fact that the European regional registry (RIPE) is about to run out any day now, many large UK ISPs still do not offer their customers IPv6. Of those few ISPs offering IPv6, A&A are one of the only ones offering it as standard to all customers and shipping a configured IPv6 router as standard.

A number of large ISPs recently signed a code of practice on net neutrality - committing to offer "internet access" to all legal content. The code of practice is very technology neutral, but that surely means they have to allow access to the IPv6 content as well, just as they must not block certain ports. It is interesting seeing how customers of such ISPs are challenging them over their lack of IPv6. It seems none of them truly offer "internet access" until they do.

Testing the water

Can you get to www.loopsofzen.co.uk? If not then you don't have IPv6. As an A&A customer, just talk to support and we will enable it and help you set it up. We have new routers you can buy that we will preconfigure for you. It is quick and easy to get IPv6 enabled with A&A.

The future

For many years A&A have been helping customers test IPv6 only networks with a NAT64 gateway. Eventually, when much of the world is IPv6, there will be a need to handle IPv4 services as a purely "legacy" system, and such gateways can help provide this. It is, today, leading edge stuff, but in the decades to come IPv6 only networks will be more and more common. We look forward to our 20 years press release explaining how we are finally turning off IPv4.

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