UK ISP Zen Internet Launches Limited IPv6 Trial - ISPreview UK
Rochdale-based ISP Zen Internet has just become the latest broadband and phone provider to announce a trial of Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6), which is designed to replace the old IPv4 Internet addressing standard.

At present nearly all broadband ISPs still assign an IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) address to your connection each time you go online, which looks a bit like this: (yours will have a different number). In many ways it’s the Internet equivalent of a phone number, which helps your hardware and software to communicate with remote servers.

Unfortunately the current standard has run out of addresses (although some providers do retain a sizeable stockpile) and this could eventually make it impossible for ISPs to add new customers without upgrading to IPv6 (related addresses look a bit like this: 2001:cdba::2257:9652) or sharing IPv4 addresses between several users.

In the meantime ISPs will increasingly have to adopt Dual Stack Networks, which essentially allows both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses to work alongside each other. Related users will normally be assigned an address for each standard as otherwise some of the Internet would not be accessible.

However these sorts of upgrades can be complicated, costly and until recently the hardware and software support for IPv6 was still very poor, which is despite IPv6 having been around for many years.

But lately we’ve witnessed several major ISPs take a growing interest in IPv6, with Sky Broadband running a major customer trial (here) and BT looking likely to follow suit (here). Not forgetting that some smaller providers, such as AAISP and Aquiss, have been offering IPv6 connectivity for a long time.

The latest to join this club is Zen Internet, which has today launched a limited IPv6 trial with their partners and it’s anticipated that the feature could “roll-out to our wider customer base later in the year” (they’ll need to check the trial results first).

Zen Internet Statement on IPv6

As the world’s IPv4 addresses continue to diminish, calls for the option to switch to IPv6 have become louder.

Zen has received a number of requests from customers to make IPv6 available – ranging from home-based techies through to corporate clients and Partners looking to bring the new technology to their end users – and as a result has decided to launch a Partner trial, starting today.

The move follows a short, in-house trial that proved successful, with staff enjoying all the benefits of IPv6 – including easier management of networks and improved security features. … We’re thrilled to be moving to the next stage of trials with our Partners and hope to update on a roll-out to our wider customer base later in the year.
It’s worth pointing out that the upgrade to IPv6 is really a necessity in that, sooner or later, everybody will have to do it. But only when the entire Internet is fully IPv6 capable will we start to see the older style IPv4 addresses being switched off, although this isn’t likely to happen for a fair few years as the migration process has so far been incredibly slow.