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By: MarkJ - 31 January, 2011 (6:38 AM)
uk aaisp broadband ispBroadband ISP Andrews & Arnold ( AAISP ) has decided to make IPv6 allocation an automatic feature for new customers in the UK. The ISP has been offering the service for over 8 years, yet until now IPv6 was always a (free) option that you had to ask for.

It's worth pointing out that the final blocks of IPv4 address space have not yet been allocated, although that announcement is believed to be imminent and could come today. We covered this in the news last week (here) and expect to do a further report soon.

The Director of AAISP UK, Adrian Kennard, said:

"With the announcement that the final blocks of IPv4 address space have been allocated it is clear that all ISPs, business and home users alike have to get themselves IPv6 Ready. If they don't then they simply won't be able to access all of the internet.

There really is no reason for any customer not to have IPv6 enabled, so AAISP has decided to make an IPv6 allocation an automatic feature when ordering broadband. If you don't have IPv6 enabled on your network yet, then this won't do any harm - but it means your IPv6 allocation is ready and waiting for when you upgrade."

Despite the announcement, AAISP doesn't have any consumer IPv6 broadband routers (connection hardware) to offer alongside its packages. The good news is that they are testing a number of solutions and, assuming all goes well, will soon be selling IPv6 routers with the service. A free router is also being mooted for new installations.

Luckily business customers don't have to worry because AAISP already has a solution for them - the FireBrick FB2700 hardware firewall/router. The provider confirms that its network is fully compatible with this new breed of routers that provide automatic configuration of IPv6 settings, a hugely important feature for wider adoption.

However, AAISP admits that customers who took IPv6 before often needed a bit of technical ability to make us of it (about 10% of their users asked for it), although the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and growing support for IPv6 has made the switch essential.

Adrian Kennard added:

"The news that IPv4 is finally running out is not the end of the world - it simply marks a key milestone that will finally make people more aware of the issues. IPv6 has been around since 1995 and any modern computers simply work with IPv6 and IPv4. You don't have to switch over or take yourself off the internet to make use of IPv6, in spite of what some bad reporting in the press has said.

A home user with one of these new IPv6 routers will be able to access all of the internet, making use of IPv6 or IPv4 as needed and doing so behind the scenes with no fuss or complication."

An IP address is assigned to your computer each time you go online and effectively acts like the online equivalent of your home phone number, which allows you to connect with other systems and services. Sadly the current range of IPv4 addresses are running out, which is why IPv6 was created, but many others in the industry have been slow to adapt.
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