Fibertech Networks, a competitive fiber-centric provider serving the Eastern and Central regions of the United States, has turned on IPv6 over its 8,000-route mile fiber network.
Currently providing IPv6 address space to select customers on a trial basis, the service provider's network can operate both IPv4 and IPv6 mode.
Image source: Fibertech
Having started the IPv6 journey last March in preparation for the 2011 IPv6 Day, Thomas Perrone, Director of Engineering and Network Planning for Fibertech Networks said the decision to enable IPv6 on its network was to show others the importance of the transition and be prepared to sell addresses to its clients.
"IPv6 is important for folks like us it's important because of the finite amount of addresses and because it's harder and harder to obtain the addresses to hand out to our customers we're motivated, but we're motivated even more because we want to hand out IPv6 space," he said. "We're also trying to raise awareness."
Making the IPv6 capabilities live came after a year of designing, testing, and implementation.
Like other service providers, Fibertech's implementation of IPv6 has been conducted in a dual stack mode that simultaneously supports both IPv4 and IPv6.
To enable IPv6 in the network in consecutive markets, the service provider had to address two issues. It had to enable it not only with its upstream network providers, but also in its own network so two customers that use IPv6 in two of their markets could communicate with one another.
In addition to enabling customers to use IPv6 when ready, it was important that the upgrade was that it had little effect on its end-user customers.
"It was a milestone for us just based on the fact that we to make sure we did it, but we also wanted to make sure that we did not impact any of our existing customer base so there was a lot of testing involved and a lot of late maintenance windows to implement the protocol on any of the routers," he said.
While enabling IPv6 was a big milestone for Fibertech and other service providers, Perrone admits that outside some pilot customers that neither he nor his competitors are seeing a lot of serious interest yet.
Right now, only about 1-5 percent of Fibertech's customers are actually asking for IPv6 address space.
"A lot of companies local to the Northeast that we compete against and work with said are seeing a very small percentage of customers interested in IPv6, and those they do see are educational and others that want to play with it and kick the tires," Perrone said. "There's noone seriously looking to provide their egress and routing over IPv6 and a very small percent of enterprise customers."
As a participant in the 2011 World IPv6 Day, where it operated its website in both IPv4 and IPv6 mode, the Fibertech IPv6 website drew 7,500 hits with visits from users around in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Brazil.
The service provider plans to participate in the upcoming World IPv6 Launch on June 6, 2012 with its website available on the IPv6 platform.
Special report: Wholesale provider leaders to watch in 2012
Fibertech Indianapolis network expansion targets new business service opportunities
Fibertech starts new era under parent Court Square