iiNet’s IPv6 to hit customers soon


National broadband provider iiNet has told customers not to worry about the impending shortage of IPv4 internet addresses, noting that it was currently running trials with the next version 6 of the Internet Protocol, and that it expected to start including portions of its customer base soon.

The numbers of IPv4 addresses available to ISPs — and to their customers — are rapidly dwindling, as the number of devices connected to the Internet proliferates. The next standard, IPv6, is being experimented with by ISPs around Australia and the globe, although few have started pushing the change out to customers as yet.

In February, iiNet said it was well-advanced in its planning for the expected migration to IPv6, and in a blog post published this week, made it clear its trials had advanced.

“iiNet have been running a number of in-house trials using IPv6 with our systems,” wrote Matt Hutchinson, from the ISP’s operations team. “It is expected that these trials will be expanded to include selected portions of our customer base within the next few months. Meanwhile our supply of IPv4 addresses will last us for a while yet so we’ll be going ahead as planned with a dual-stack approach (customers will be assigned both an IPv4 and IPv6 address).”

In general, Hutchinson wrote, the ‘shortage’ of addresses wasn’t as dramatic as some portions of the media were making out.

“iiNet has enough IPv4 addresses to see its customers into the foreseeable future,” he wrote. “When the time comes, and IPv4 becomes a thing of the past, transition technology will be available to ensure no one’s Internet experience is affected in anyway.”

“In fact, by that point in time, it’s likely that most of the Internet will be native to IPv6, so we won’t really need transitional technology – but it’ll be there just in case. With a number of large websites/content providers pushing forward to get their content IPv6-ready by June 8 this year (World IPV6 Day), it is hoped the extra attention will result in increased interest from the greater internet community.”

The news comes as other ISPs around Australia have also recently flagged plans to shift to IPv6 in 2011.

In Ferbuary, Internode, for example, said it would progressively move its existing national IPv6 trial to a full production service in 2011 in order to face the depletion of the 32-bit IPv4 address space, predicted for the next few months. All of the ISP’s routers being sold to customers support IPv6, and both kinds of IP addresses will be assigned to customers for the time being.

“We’ve ensured our customers have the best of both worlds, so they don’t need to worry about this issue during the transition period. Internode customers won’t run out of IP addresses,” said Internode managing director Simon Hackett at the time.

Image credit: iiNet


  1. IPV6 is all good, but what happens when customers move over to IPV6 and websites wanted to view are still on IPV4 ?, Do you not get the pages ?, do you then have TWO internets, one for IPV6 and one for IPV4 ?

  2. @Brian, ISP’s will no doubt run dual stack for a long time so customers will be able to access both IPV4 and IPV6 websites. This will work regardless if the customer has an IPV4 or IPV6 IP.


  3. The idea was that about 10 years ago everyone would have started running dual ipv6 and ipv4. Once everyone was running both ipv6 and ipv4, which would be well before ipv4 ran out, ipv4 would have been simply decommissioned.

    Unfortunately almost no one actually did that.

    So now we have the very messy situation of not being able to dual stack everything because there aren’t enough ipv4 addresses. Hence an ipv6 island.

  4. It’s not that big a deal.
    When IPv4 addresses run out, they’ll just NAT them.
    With 65535 ports available, even if there was a 50:1 ratio, you still end up with over 1300 ports for each end user.

    So, really, if we wanted to pull all the stops out, you could probably manage to grow the current internet over 50x without huge headaches.
    That’s a cool 200 trillion devices.

  5. Yay ISP wide NATing.

    Lets see how protocols like SIP go working through multiple NAT layers. Too bad if something has to initiate an inbound connection to your computer.

  6. NAT cannot scale nearly as well as that, myne. IPv6 really isn’t all that bad anyway. It’s easy enough to run dual stacks for a while to give people a chance to upgrade.

    In fact, that’s what World IPv6 day is all about anyway – big providers, like Google and Facebook have agreed to turn on their IPv6 stack on all their public-facing sites for a whole day to see what breaks. I assume there’ll be a few more similar events before they pull the big switch and turn it on permanently.

    Interesting times :-)

  7. @Myne -You got the right idea (kinda) , however it does causes problems, see Steve’s post for one example of why we need IPv6.

    • @Dean, Adrian;

      Yeah, I know. It would never be ideal. However, for the vast majority of the world’s purely ‘internet access’ residential style connections, it would, for the most part work ok.

      But before you dismiss it entirely, think about 3G connections. Carriers would be quite willing to NAT their 3G customers. Not only would it save a bunch of IP’s but it, as you said, destroys inbound VoIP.
      Many DSL and Cable users would be hard pressed to notice the difference.

      Others would. Which naturally, creates a new market for non-natted IP’s.

      My point wasn’t that we *should* do this, only that that is what *would* (and probably will) happen.

  8. I’m kinda surpised at the amount of Sys/Network Admins out there that are not even thinking about IPV6 until their ISP more or less forces them too.

    I’ve already got IPv6 (Internode) at home, and a lab setup at work with a Tunnel broker setup.
    It’s these sort of skills that will be in demand in the very near future, and no doubt there will be a demand for people with proven IPv6 skills.

    • I was actually surprised to find out that someone I know personally has been given the task by the IPv6 powers that be, to build a standard for IPv6 NAT.
      I knew it would happen eventually, but I’ve had to hear from him just how much he dispises NAT.

      It’s a beautiful irony, I think :D

  9. @Myne:
    I think Nat & 3G do go well togther, only cause Voip over 3G can be hit & mis, however I do need to be careful making that statement, as no doubt there are many out there with it working just fine.

    Also 3G and IPv6 = IPV6 Moile IP – Now that’s another lab/lesson , however from my limited understanding of that area, its only the ISP’s that need to worry about it?

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