Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Update on IPv6 Plans for Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Vodafone UPDATE2

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 9,987

Over the past few years many of the broadband ISP market’s smallest and biggest UK players, such as BT and Sky Broadband, have deployed the “new” IPv6 internet addressing standard. Sadly the same cannot be said for Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Plusnet. We asked each for an update and here’s what they said.

The reason for this article is to help add some context to last week’s news from Europe’s Regional Internet Registry (RIR), RIPE NCC, which confirmed that their final reserve pool of older Internet Protocol v4 (IPv4) addresses would completely run out in November 2019 (here). Obviously that situation raises the pressure a little on ISPs to ensure they’re ready for IPv6 but, as above, some have been slower to adapt than others.

As a quick recap. Internet protocol (IP) addresses exist to help connect your computer/devices and software with others around the online world (like an ID number for your connection). Unfortunately the IPv4 address space could only handle 4 billion addresses and we’ve now more or less distributed all of those, which means that in the future ISPs will need to use the new IPv6 standard in order to keep adding new connections.

Sadly the longer form IPv6 addresses are not directly compatible with older IPv4 addresses and so the two will need to be run side-by-side for many years to come (i.e. until the vast majority of the world has enabled IPv6 and then IPv4 may slowly go into decline). Happily there are various ways to resolve this challenge but some providers could perhaps be said to be dragging their feet.

Virgin Media

Arguably Virgin Media have been on the road toward IPv6 for a few years now, although they’ve yet to flick the switch. Back in 2018 it became clear that they were set to adopt the Dual Stack Lite (DS-Lite) approach to running IPv4 and IPv6 side-by-side (here) and the first customer trials began by around the middle of that same year (here).

However DS-Lite is not a universally popular approach and can, depending upon the implementation, cause connectivity issues for certain services. Since last year we’ve heard nothing about Virgin’s future plans for IPv6, although some of our sources have indicated that they may have chosen to scrap DS-Lite and go with a full Dual Stack approach instead (in our opinion that’s a better fit for Virgin).

A Virgin Media spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We are currently setting out our IPV6 deployment plans and will provide an update at the appropriate time.”

TalkTalk

The popular phrase “silence is golden” comes to mind for this provider, which in the past has tended to stay fairly mute on their IPv6 plans. Such a position has become increasingly untenable as the years have rolled on and we’re pleased to say that the ISP has finally given us a response, although by the sounds of it they aren’t exactly rushing toward adoption.

A TalkTalk Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“TalkTalk is committed to transitioning to IPv6. To minimise any potential impact to our customers and services, the transition will be phased over the next few years as we roll-out new products and services such as fibre to the premises.

We continue to work closely with our network and systems vendors to ensure all new equipment is fully IPv6 compliant. In fact, our network already operates as dual stack, using IPV4 compliant addresses while the major network components are IPV6 ready.”

Vodafone

Vodafone only returned to the fixed broadband ISP market in 2015 and so you might perhaps expect them to have been better prepared for IPv6, although like some of the others above they haven’t rushed toward adoption. Nevertheless they’re now home to over 600,000 customers and appear to have set a clear plan for IPv6, which is good news.

A Vodafone Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We are well into planning and will have fully implemented it by late spring next year.”

Plusnet

Next we come to Plusnet, which many would expect to be using IPv6 by now, particularly given how they’re owned and managed by BT (EE); where IPv6 is now the norm. Sadly that hasn’t happened and it’s perhaps a little ironic given how, all the way back in 2011, they were one of the first to trial it and even urged the rest of the industry to follow their lead (here).

As the then CEO of Plusnet, Richard Fletcher, said: “Without further action, we run the risk of stifling access to new web based services, which could reduce customer choice and limit functionality and access for web-users across the world.” Once again, that was spoken in 2011 and their current position is below.

A Plusnet Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We’re committed to the roll out of IPv6, as this an important evolution for our networks and the service we provide our customers. We’re in a good place with our internal testing which means we are hoping to start making this available to customers in Spring next year.”

We should point out that some ISPs still have a sizeable pool of free IPv4 addresses to consume and others may try to stretch this out by adopting IP address sharing (e.g. Carrier Grade NAT), although the latter approach is rarely desirable given the problems that it can sometimes create with connectivity and security.

Suffice to say that some providers can afford to take a little longer but they should be careful about adopting a glacial pace to migration, lest they end up being caught out further down the road by a sudden change from core internet content providers or new legislation. Slowly we are also starting to see more devices and systems that are adopting a native approach to IPv6 or which simply work better with the new protocol vs IPv4.

One thing is particularly clear in all this. A few years ago there were still some distinct barriers to adoption (e.g. a lot of consumer routers were being built without IPv6) but many of those obstacles have since been removed and thus the list of excuses for not making the jump has become increasingly short.

UPDATE 13th November 2019

I wanted to give a little update on the Plusnet situation. We have now asked the ISP on several occasions to clarify their position and, despite initially saying that they would respond, we have so far received no official comment.

UPDATE 19th Nov 2019

We’ve finally got a comment from Plusnet, which has been added above.

Leave a Comment
10 Responses
  1. Avatar Neil

    What kind of problems will a user have, if they run their own router. So if virgin flip to ip 6, can you still run ip 4 internally with your own router?

    Basically how will it all work?

    • Avatar boggits

      “It depends”

      v4 and v6 are fundamentally different in the way they operate and therefore do interoperate, there are a couple of transition technologies (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6_transition_mechanism) that can be deployed on the router to allow continued coexistence (most mobile phones have 464xlat available to handle poorly written apps without v6 support as an example). so you can run a single network on v4 and then have the router do the heavy lifting to allow that network to talk to the rest of the world. Several of the hyperscalers have done the reverse, run their internal infrastructure on v6 and then have a v4 gateway to talk to the legacy internet.

    • Avatar NE555

      > What kind of problems will a user have, if they run their own router. So if virgin flip to ip 6, can you still run ip 4 internally with your own router?

      You misunderstand: Virgin will not “flip to ip 6”. If they did that, they would disconnect you from the majority of the Internet.

      Rather, they will turn on IPv6 *in parallel* with IPv4. If your router doesn’t understand IPv6, it will ignore the IPv6 addresses being offered, and continue to work as it did before. If it understands both, then your devices will use IPv6 when available to reach a given site, and fall back to IPv4 if not.

  2. Avatar NE555

    > lest they end up being caught out further down the road by a sudden change from core internet content providers

    No content provider is going to start putting content on IPv6-only, as they would be locking out most of their eyeballs/customers from which their revenue derives. Companies will pay millions for a cool domain name – they’ll certainly pay to make their content reachable from the majority of the Internet.

    In any case, much content is served these days through shared frontends like Cloudflare, Akamai etc – hence you don’t even need your own IPv4 address to make your content visible on IPv4.

    The main reason the access providers don’t enable IPv6 is support cost. They work on such wafer-thin margins already, they are averse to anything which might cause even a slight uplift in support calls. However, BT and Sky have done it successfully, so hopefully this will make them reconsider their position.

  3. Avatar ileikcaek

    Yet more of nothing from VM’s statement. They are sure taking their sweet time and have basically given the same statement for years.

  4. Avatar Mark

    The issue of IPv4 address will particularly hit startup ISPs, and smaller ISPs wishing to expand, forcing them into potentially expensive acquisitions in the secondary market.

    For that reason I can see this potentially leading to regulatory intervention in some markets, expediting the move to IPv6 by mandating larger providers to offer it and/or forcing them to give up blocks of IPv4 addresses to new entrants.

  5. Avatar philip

    No update from Plusnet ?

  6. Avatar Jase

    How come Three has been ommited from your article? They still haven’t rolled out IPV6 on their network

  7. Avatar Bob

    It’s a shame there’s no response from Plusnet.

Leave a Reply to Jase Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £21.00 (*25.00)
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £50 Shopping Voucher
  • SSE £22.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited (FUP)
    Gift: None
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Avg. Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited (FUP)
    Gift: None
  • Post Office £22.90 (*37.00)
    Avg. Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2553)
  2. FTTP (2292)
  3. FTTC (1688)
  4. Building Digital UK (1627)
  5. Politics (1457)
  6. Openreach (1444)
  7. Business (1273)
  8. FTTH (1125)
  9. Statistics (1118)
  10. Mobile Broadband (1068)
  11. Fibre Optic (984)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (930)
  13. Wireless Internet (929)
  14. 4G (926)
  15. Virgin Media (876)
  16. EE (607)
  17. Sky Broadband (602)
  18. TalkTalk (587)
  19. Vodafone (542)
  20. 3G (418)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact