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Where are top Internet service providers with IPv6?

Jeff Carrell, Mary Kyle and Ed Tittel, Contributors

Without the help of an IPv6-capable Internet service provider (ISP), an enterprise can't make its external-facing servers

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reach IPv6. This is why, for World IPv6 Launch Day, we took a poll of the top 20 ISPs in the US to see where they were with their IPv6 support and rollouts.

Which top Internet service providers support IPv6?

To determine the top 20 Internet service providers, we compiled a list of the largest and most commonly listed Internet service and communications providers of the United States. While this methodology excludes smaller IPv6-savvy ISPs, like Hurricane Electric, we invite comments from any organization that believes it should be mentioned in our survey, provided they answer the following questions:

ISP progress with IPv6

Network services company Nominum surveyed 67 large and small Internet service providers (ISPs), mainly in North America and Europe, to determine where they are in their IPv6 deployments: 


Enlarge survey results

  • 23% have already implemented IPv6 
  • 35% plan to implement IPv6 by the end of 2012 
  • 39% plan to implement IPv6 in 2013, or later
  •  3% say they have no plans
  • Do you support native IPv6 access for enterprise customers?
  • Is your homepage accessible via IPv6?

After compiling this list, we examined the websites of each ISP; where IPv6 information was not available or displayed on websites, we called and questioned tech support staff about support and professional services for IPv6 migration. In addition to sleuthing for answers on native IPv6 access, we visited the websites of each ISP on June 5, to see whether their homepages were IPv6 accessible, and we checked whether the ISP was the listed on the World IPv6 Launch Day pages as an IPv6-compliant website (including both Website Operate and Network Operator participant pages, using both organization name and primary site URL searches). In this investigation, we found that some companies claimed to be IPv6 compliant but didn't test as such as of June 5, 2012. Even more interesting, a surprising number of top Internet service providers actually offer IPv6-compliant websites even though they won't yet disclose their IPv6 support plans for customers. In one case (Comcast), one of their domains was IPv6 compliant (.net) while another one was not (.com)!

As you will see in Table 1 below, some ISPs have homepage and native IPv6 support; others are almost ready, while others are not ready at all. In a surprising number of cases, we couldn't find out online or by phone whether they currently support IPv6. In the table cells, the phrase "information not available (INA)" means we searched for answers to the questions above but received no response from the organization's tech support staff. "Transition plans not available" means the organization has plans to make native IPv6 service available to some or all of its customers at some point in the future, but isn’t ready to talk about them yet.

Table 1: Survey of IPv6 for 20 top Internet service providers

Company

Homepage IPv6 enabled?

Supports native IPv6?

Comments
AT&T

No*

Yes**

*Main website is registered as IPv6 complaint; independent IPv6 test showed main website not IPv6 compliant on 6/1/2012. **IPV6 trials currently underway. For more information on AT&T IPv6 launch information, visit their IPv6…Getting…Ready page.
Verizon

No

No

Main website is not registered as IPv6 compliant; URL fails IPv6 test. Transition to IPV6 to occur in early June 2012. For more information on Verizon's IPv6 launch, visit their Standards page.
Sprint

Yes

No

Main website is not registered as IPv6 compliant; passes IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans not available at this time.
Century Link

Yes

No

Main website is not registered as IPv6 compliant; passes IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans are not available at this time.
Frontier Communications

Yes

No

Main website is not registered as IPv6 compliant; passes IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans are not available at this time.
Windstream Corporation

No

No

Main website is not registered as IPv6 compliant; fails IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans are not available at this time.
Earthlink

No

No

Main website not registered as IPv6 compliant; website fails IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans are not available at this time.
TW Telecom

Yes

Yes*

Main website not registered as IPv6 compliant; passes IPv6 test. *For information on TW Telecom's IPv6 launch, visit their IPv6 Solutions page.
T-Mobile

No

INA

Main website not registered as IPv6 compliant; website fails IPv6 test. Other information not available.
Comcast

Yes*

Yes

*Main website is registered as IPv6 complaint on worldipv6launch.org; Comcast.com website fails IPv6 test whereas Comcast.net passes the same test. For Comcast IPv6 launch info, visit http://www.comcast6.net/. Comcast began production deployment of Cable Modem Management over IPv6 in 2011. Some customers have an IPv6 address for their cable modem management (or DOCSIS) address.
Time-Warner Cable

No*

No

*Main website is registered as IPv6 compliant and is listed as an IPv6 network operator; passes IPv6 test. IPv6 will be available June 6, 2012, to all customers who have VIP Signature Services, Wide Band Services, and all the Commercial Account holders. For more information on Time Warner's IPv6 transition, visit Time-Warner’s IPv6 page.
Cox Communications

No

No

Main website not registered as IPv6 compliant nor is Cox listed as an IPv6 network operator; website fails IPv6 test. However, Cox is working to ensure all networks, systems, and products are IPv6-enabled via an established IPv6 Migration Program. Details regarding the program are not publically available at this time. Cox is a participating Internet service provider in World IPv6 Day 2012.
Charter Communications

Yes

Yes

Charter is listed as a participating IPv6 site operator but not as an IPv6 network operator; passes IPv6 test. However, IPV6 is currently available to all Charter users. IPv6 is currently available to all Charter Internet users. For more information on the complete Charter transition plan, visit their IPv6 page.
CableVision

No

No

CableVision is listed as neither an IPv6 website or as an IPv6 network operator; website fails IPv6 test. Note: All help lines on CableVision go to Optimum (covered elsewhere in this table).
Bright House Networks

No

No

Bright House is listed as neither an IPv6 website or as an IPv6 network operator; website fails IPv6 test. Bright House is currently conducting a test on IPv6 for a select number of customers and plans to transition to IPv6 mid-2012. Additional details not available at this time.
Suddenlink Communications

No

INA

Suddenlink Communications is listed as neither an IPv6 website nor as an IPv6 network operator; website fails IPv6 test. Information not available.
Mediacom

No

No

Mediacom is listed as neither an IPv6 website nor as an IPv6 network operator; website fails IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans not available at this time.
Insight Communications Company

No

No

Insight Communications is listed as neither an IPv6 website or as an IPv6 network operator; website fails IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans not available at this time.
Clearwire Corporation (Clear)

No

Yes

Clearwire is listed as neither an IPv6 website nor as an IPv6 network operator; website fails IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans are not available at this time.
Optimum

No

No

Optimum is listed as neither an IPv6 website nor as an IPv6 network operator; website fails IPv6 test. IPv6 transition plans are not available at this time.

At the time of this writing, it seems quite clear that all of the top Internet service providers are thinking about IPv6. But perhaps only half of them will support IPv6 today, and more than half either can't or won't disclose their IPv6 plans at this time of public awareness. On the flip side, it's also very telling that only four companies of the 20 we polled here --  namely, AT&T, Comcast, Charter Communications, and Clearwire/Clear -- actually claim to support IPv6, and that only six had their home pages accessible via IPv6 five days before IPv6 launch day is scheduled to take place.

For more information on preparing for IPv6, view these resources:

About the authors: Jeff Carrell is a full-time networking consultant who develops and teaches courses for HP and Sharkfest, and a co-author with Ed Tittel of the forthcoming Guide to TCP/IP, 4th edition (Cengage Learning, 2012). Ed, a regular blogger and contributor for TechTarget, is perhaps best known for creating the Exam Cram series of IT cert prep books. Mary Kyle is a full-time freelance writer and project manager who helps both Jeff and Ed stay on the road (and on time and under budget).

This was first published in June 2012

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