Free employs Cisco for its IPv6 rollout

French competitive broadband carrier Free is making an aggressive IPv6 push with Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) that will serve more than four million of its broadband customers.

By deploying Cisco's IPv6 6rd Border Relay technology solution, Free is preparing for and mitigating the impending exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, while preparing its network to support the ongoing growth of Internet-connected devices users are attaching to its network.

According to, a site that tracks IPv4 address allocation set by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), IPv4 address exhaustion is forecasted to occur sometime next year.  

Since the movement to IPv6 will be done in a migratory fashion, Cisco claims that by deploying 6rd, service providers such as Free will be able to offer IPv6 capabilities to customers via their existing IPv4 access network and backend systems. The obvious benefits of a dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 approach is that service providers can reduce IPv6 deployment lead time, while protecting existing network investments.

For its IPv6 deployment, Free is leveraging Cisco's ASR 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers, which incorporates the three-step framework of "Preserve, Prepare and Prosper" the vendor launched last fall for its routing portfolio.

"Free is committed to providing the latest innovations for its customers, including full support today for the IP Next-Generation Network, IPv6," said Maxime Lombardini, chief executive officer, Free (Iliad Group, France) in a release. "We have chosen the Cisco Series Aggregation Services Routers ASR 1000 router for their support of an integrated high-performance IPv6 Rapid Deployment or 6rd technology, which allows us to supply IPv6 to our users in a remarkably simple and cost-efficient manner."

While Free did not provide its IPv6 deployment timeline, the announcement will likely gain the attention of other incumbent and competitive providers that are also making their own migration to IPv6.  

For more:
- see the release here

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