IPv6 needs to happen faster, ISPs say

IPv6 usage is increasing among consumers, corporations and Web sites, but is still happening too slowly, according to Internet companies like Comcast and Netflix who are tracking such information.

IPv6 is the next generation of Internet Protocol (IP) and can handle a virtually unlimited number of devices connected directly to the Internet. The current generation, IPv4, can only handle 4.3 billion devices and is quickly running out of space as more consumer electronics are outfitted with IP connectivity. Some reports indicate that only 10 percent of IPv4 addresses remain unallocated.

For providers like Comcast the situation goes more deeply than just high-speed data and moves into the connected home where numerous devices have IP addresses that link them back through Comcast's HSD network. It also impacts TV Everywhere and the devices that will be used for that system as well as Comcast's relationship as part of the fourth generation WiMAX initiative, Clearwire. Comcast was the first ISP in the U.S. to announce an IPv6 trial and had "5,000 volunteers sign up in a matter of days," according to Jason Livingood, executive director of Internet systems engineering for Comcast.

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