BT's internet service provision arm has confirmed that it plans to enable IPv6 on its network by the autumn, but warns that it could be early next year before it becomes available to all.
Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6) was designed to replace its predecessor IPv4 for one simple reason: we're running out of addresses. IPv4's 32-bit address space allows for a maximum of just over four billion addresses total, with large chunks of that space being reserved for non-routable local networks and loopback use. The issue was spotted in the 90s, when development on IPv6 began, and has only become more serious: in 2011 the organisations responsible for assigning new number blocks warned that the well was running dry
. With a 128-bit address space, IPv6 more than fixes the issue: there's enough space to give every grain of sand on Earth its own individual IP address without coming anywhere near exhausting the address space.
Late last year, BT announced that it would be upgrading its network to IPv6
by the end of 2016. Its April deadline for supporting IPv6 across half its network came and went without an announcement from the company, however, but now it has confirmed that it is on-track to offer the service. Speaking to ISPreview
, a BT spokesperson explained that the IPv6 go-live date is set for this autumn.
Smart Hub customers are to be the first to receive IPv6 support, the spokesperson continued. Home Hub 5 users, meanwhile, will be upgraded some time early 2017 - and thus far the company hasn't indicated whether those on older hardware will be getting upgraded at all.