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By: MarkJ - 11 November, 2011 (6:13 AM)
ipv6uk aaisp broadband ispThe boss of broadband provider Andrews & Arnold ( AAISP ), Adrian Kennard, has hinted that the well documented lack of affordable Internet Protocol v6 ( IPv6 ) capable consumer routers (connection hardware) is about to come to an end as the first "sanely priced" model begins UK field trials.

An IP address is assigned to your computer each time you go online (kind of like an internet ID tag), which allows you to connect with other online servers and services. Sadly existing IPv4 addresses have almost completely run out and as a result IPv6 was created, yet surprisingly (IPv6 surfaced in 1996) hardware manufacturers have yet to build it into their consumer affordable kit (routers, modems etc.).

The situation could be storing up problems for the future. ISPs will eventually have to start adding new customers via an IPv6 instead of IPv4 platform. The two solutions can communicate (dual-stack) but are not directly compatible, which makes it essential to have affordable IPv6 routers, modems and chipsets for mass market adoption. Until recently none have existed, at least not for the UK market.

The Director of AAISP UK, Adrian Kennard, said:

"It looks like working with a manufacturer closely, even providing one of our broadband lines in their R&D offices, may have paid off.

We are testing and giving feedback, but looking very encouraging. Testing so far is that IPv6 "just works", and even though it has wifi and a 4 port switch and both DSL and PPPoE WAN, it is sanely priced to be our new "free with service" router."

Eagle eyed readers will note that AAISP already provide IPv6 as standard for all new UK installs, including a "free with the service" consumer IPv6 capable broadband router. However, the ISPs existing kit is based off a high-end Billion 7800N, which tends to cost around £120 when sold separately.

Back in August 2011 Kennard warned that AAISP "obviously can't keep doing" such promotions because it's costing them "thousands" to support. The need for an affordable alternative is significant and could be holding up wider adoption.

AAISP believes that it now has such a solution, although they're not yet prepared to name the manufacturer; it's still being beta tested. Kennard expects to reveal further details "real soon now" and other ISPs will be watching closely. What's surprising is that smaller providers are the ones putting in all the effort, while the big boys seem content to sit on piles of reserved IPv4 addresses for as long as they can.
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