CHICAGO – Here is the classic chicken-and-egg dilemma: Vendors say they aren’t pushing IPv6 development because there isn’t any content out there. Content providers say consumers aren’t seeing their IPv6 stuff because the equipment isn’t available yet.
The first sessions of the 2011 Cable Show kicked off with a trio of IPv6 discussions sponsored by ARRIS, and the general consensus among the panelists is that, no matter what they are hearing, the transition to IPv6 needs to start yesterday.
According to John Curran, president/CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the 4.8 billion IP addresses available today is nowhere near what is going to be needed in the not-so-distant future. He pointed to the 7 billion people now on the planet, meaning that someday 7 billion connected devices will have to be served.
And it’s not just one device to a customer. Curren also predicts each person on earth will have 5 connected devices, meaning 5 IP addresses. This translates into a projected need for 50 billion new IP addresses, and the time to implement this is now, because no one wants to go through a second transition.
As such, he offered some advice: Vendors need to integrate IPv6 into their product cycles ASAP, ahead of customer demand. “It will be a competitive advantage and a business differentiator,” he said. He also suggested the government needs to adopt regulatory and economic incentives to encourage IPv6 adoption, and that it require IPv6 compatibility in all procurement procedures.
But the real question centered on the absolute, positive “we’re completely out of IPv4 addresses and we have to cut it off” day. Like the end of the world, no such cut-off day can be pinpointed, but Curran said, “At some point, it just won’t work. Ninety percent of content will be IPv6-reachable in the next two or three years, but that isn’t 100 percent.”
Operators have a good five years before the final transition will be discussed so, until then, Curran said, “we will have five years of dual stack.”
CMAP/CESAR Morph to CCAP
Cable Labs released a technical report that combines the work Comcast has done on CMAP together with the work Time Warner Cable has done on CESAR. (For more, see CMAP and CESAR Get Replaced by CCAP). Ultimately, the new device, now called the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP), will facilitate the evolution to a converged access network architecture.
Jorge Salinger, VP/Access Architecture with Comcast, explained CCAP in a little more depth. He said CableLabs’ technical report goes into more detail about encryption, the size of the device, and how passive optical networking (PON) is supported.
Salinger said the CESAR specification never included encryption, but the CMAP specification did talk about conditional access (CA). The new CCAP spec covers implementing the platform both with and without encryption.
As far as the size of box, Salinger said the old specifications were causing confusion among the vendor community. CCAP more clearly describes how an architecture can be implemented in different sizes of boxes.
"Now we have a spec that all operating models should support," said Salinger. "One name is definitely going to help."
Cable Hall of Fame Inductees
At a dinner and ceremony last night, the following people were named to the 2011 class for the Cable Hall of Fame: Maria Bartiromo, anchor, CNBC; Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO, Time Warner Inc.; Rocco Commisso, founder, chairman and CEO, Mediacom Communications Corporation; Jim Gray, former president, Warner Cable Communications and former vice chairman, Time Warner Cable; Paul Kagan, chairman and CEO, PK Worldmedia Inc.; and Timothy E. Wirth, president, United Nations Foundation.
-Debra Baker and Linda Hardesty