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IPv6 Issue Breaking Mobile Apps on UK ISP Vodafone Broadband

Thursday, Nov 30th, 2023 (7:53 am) - Score 4,920
Vodafone-Pro-II-UltraHub-UK-Router-2022

Some customers of Vodafone’s home broadband service have, for much of the past month, been experiencing an usual problem that seems to cause internet connectivity and performance problems for mobile apps (e.g. BBC, Sky News, Gmail, ASDA and many more) when connected to home WiFi. But there’s a temporary fix.

A number of Vodafone’s Broadband customers, seemingly those who take their fastest Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based packages (the issue may not be restricted to them), have recently been informing us about some difficulty in using a wide variety of apps on their Smartphones. The bulk of these gripes seem to come from owners of Android based phones (e.g. Samsung), but it may impact other users too.

The issues themselves are extremely sporadic, ranging from slow loading to connectivity problems with specific features and all the way up to being completely unable to load certain apps. But at the same time, other apps seem to work fine, which usually indicates something wonky with the DNS (Domain Name System) or connection routing/peering.

After a bit of digging we found a good number of related complaints on Vodafone’s own Community Forum (examples here, here, here and here). Firstly, the good news is that Vodafone have finally become aware of a “routing issue” affecting their service and are working to resolve it, although it’s unclear when this will be fixed.

A Vodafone support agent said:

“We’ve identified a routing issue impacting a small number of users who use Android apps and it’s currently being looked into. Sorry for the disruption caused, we’re getting it resolved as quickly as we can. If you need more help with this, please speak with our Broadband Tech team on 191 free from a Vodafone mobile or 03333 040 191 from any other phone. They’re also available on Live Chat.”

However, this isn’t quite the end of the story, because – after a lot of trial and error – some customers eventually figured out that they could resolve the problem by disabling IPv6 internet addressing on Vodafone’s router. Long time readers will know that this is a particularly interesting development because the provider hasn’t yet deployed IPv6 support to their home broadband network and are a well-known laggard on this front.

On the other hand, having IPv6 enabled on a router for a broadband connection that doesn’t yet support it shouldn’t normally cause any problems, unless Vodafone has done something funny or is in the process of trying to implement support. We did ask Vodafone this week for an update on their IPv6 plans, but the ISP declined to give us an update on its progress.

In the meantime, customers wishing to disable IPv6 will need to access their router’s admin interface, change it to “Expert Mode” at the top right of the page and then go to the “Settings” tab along the top and click on “Local Network” (left-hand side). The IPv6 checkbox should be a little further down that page, so you’ll need to uncheck that and then click ‘apply’ at the bottom (at this point a router restart may help, but it isn’t always necessary).

Just remember that you may need to re-enable this once Vodafone either fixes the underlying issue or gets around to actually deploying IPv6, whichever comes sooner. Oh, who am I kidding, Vodafone’s roll-out of IPv6 will almost certainly NOT come sooner.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Lucian says:

    s/usual/unusual

    A bit sad story though, it’s unreal how much everybody took to implement IPv6.

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      I’m sure the engineers at these ISPs want to get on with IPV6 but no doubt the bean counters won’t sanction it. In this country we seem to have become very good at throwing money into bottomless pits with large scale projects that end up with relative failure (eg HS2) then are useless with the day to day incremental stuff.

    2. Avatar photo Jon says:

      Sadly there are also a good number of engineers who refuse to entertain IPv6, making fallacious arguments such as “it’ll never catch on” and “it’s been around for all this time and still no one uses it” and so on.

      When the first “killer” app akin in popularity to TikTok or Instagram starts prioritising IPv6 or outright doesn’t work with IPv4 the whole situation will suddenly change. The question isn’t if such a situation will arise, but when; and frankly the sooner it does, the better.

  2. Avatar photo NJE says:

    Just gone to take a look at my settings on my Vodafone Hub (FTTP 500) and I do have an IPv6 WAN Address which I’ve never seen before, normally it doesn’t connect to IPv6. Maybe they’re starting to turn it on?

  3. Avatar photo JB8748 says:

    I picked this up last week on my parents’ network. A Pi I’ve got there doing some stuff suddenly started complaining of errors – it was receiving v6 addresses in response to DNS lookups but couldn’t reach them.

    The router was claiming to have a v6 address – and I’ve not seen that before.

  4. Avatar photo Ray Robertson says:

    There has certainly been something going on with IPv6 at Vodafone over the past few weeks:
    https://stats.labs.apnic.net/ipv6/AS5378

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Yep, that’s one of the reasons why I was already asking them about it.

  5. Avatar photo J says:

    Always best to turn ipv6 off, only causes trouble

    1. Avatar photo Alex says:

      It doesn’t, and it should be left on.

      If you’re having trouble then find and fix the actual problem… which frequently isn’t v6 at all and it’s just getting unfairly blamed for some unrelated problem.

  6. Avatar photo Brian Purvis says:

    This problem isn’t limited to Vodafone and is probably an issue with ipv6 and the apps in general. I’m with Toob and have had to disable ipv6 for the exact same issue with the BBC News app. Once ipv6 is disabled at router level the app works fine.

  7. Avatar photo Ben says:

    I’m getting a public IPv6 address on a Vodafone UK home broadband connection which I helped set up today. Yay!

Comments are closed

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