In recent weeks there’s been more than the usual amount of noise surrounding IPv6; just yesterday Internode announced it was selling a couple of IPv6 ready routers and iiNet’s made the same claim of its upcoming Bob2 router. If you’re still a little hazy on IPv6, this rather dry YouTube video does a good job covering the basics.
With the pool of IPv4 addresses being technically exhausted, as a consumer should you be worrying about IPv6 right now, rushing out to upgrade routers, PCs and modems?
The short answer is no, not quite yet unless you fancy playing on the cutting edge. Of the major Australian ISPs, only Internode has a customer-facing IPv6 service up and running, and even that’s a trial with a limited feature set. It’s currently entirely an opt-in service, not something that Internode customers are being pushed into. Internode’s current modem offerings are all IPv6 compatible, so new customers (in theory) shouldn’t even notice the difference.
iiNet has recently indicated via its blog (http://blog.iinet.net.au/ipv4-shortage-sensational-sounds/) that a selection of its customer base may be invited to IPv6 trials in the coming months; other ISPs are considerably more coy on their IPv6 implementation plans.
Billion's 7800NL: IPv6 compatible
Even when IPv6 rollouts start across more ISPs, the other factor to keep in mind is that while there’s a number of new IPv6 compatible routers on the market right now, some older models may be firmware upgradeable to work with IPv6. That won’t cover every box (and some models “promised” future IPv6 compatibility may not get those upgrades), but it’s well worth checking with your hardware provider to see if there’s an IPv6 upgrade available or imminent. If your modem is capable of taking the OpenWRT firmware, there’s the possibility to enable IPv6 there as well.
Ultimately, your ISP should advise as to the time and need for IPv6 within the user base - that’s you - and the equipment and/or software modifications required. It’s more likely that we’ll see IPv4 in the Australian marketplace for the next couple of years - realistically the lifespan of most of today’s current consumer networking equipment - in any case.