Comcast reaches the 100% IPv6 goal for residential Internet

Article

Comcast Reaches 100% Residential IPv6 Deployment | Broadband News And DSL Reports

From the horse’s mouth

Comcast

Press Release

My Comments

Comcast brand logo - courtesy ComcastComcast is now one of the first major Internet service providers in the USA to set up for full IPv6 operation for its residential and small-business Internet-service products. Here, they are operating this on a dual-stack arrangement with customers able to receive IPv4 and IPv6 addresses and connections.

This is to satisfy realities that are affecting Internet use such as a reduction of publically-available IPv4 addresses and the arrival of the “Internet Of Everything” concept where there will be many devices connected to networks both large and small.  IPv6 also opens up newer network-management functionalities like Segment Routing and Service Function Chaining.

Here, they are also optimising the XFinity X1 and XFinity Voice product platforms for IPv6 as well as implementing IPv6 for all of networks associated with the NBC Universal digital-content properties.

If a Comcast subscriber is to benefit from IPv6, they would have to connect the cable modem to a router that supports IPv6 dual-stack functionality. In some cases, you may have to have the existing cable modem swapped out for a newer unit or have Comcast flash the existing unit with newer IPv6-ready firmware. When you set up your router’s IPv6 WAN/Internet options, you may find it best to let the router use the “auto-detect” options.

This could show up as a step in the right direction for IPv6 in the world’s largest and densest Internet-service market.

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Google puts the wind up Comcast and Time Warner Cable

Article

Comcast, Time Warner boost net speeds in Google Fiber city – COINCIDENCE? | The Register

My Comments

US Flag By Dbenbenn, Zscout370, Jacobolus, Indolences, Technion. [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsRegular readers will have noticed my comments about the lack of real competition in the US fixed broadband market thank you to very cosy deals arranged by incumbent cable-TV and telecommunications companies and various governments on a state and federal level.

Google have just rolled out their Google Fiber FTTP broadband service, known for offering headline data-transfer speeds of a gigabit each way, into Kansas City. Now Comcast and Time Warner Cable, for fear of hemorrhaging cable-broadband customers to Google, have upped their cable Internet service’s headline data-transfer speeds without charging their customers a single penny extra for the upgrade.

Issues have been raised about the pricing and customer-service behavior of cable-TV companies when they are faced with real competition beyond the DSL service offered by the incumbent telco. This has come in to play during discussions concerning the proposed merger between Comcast and Time-Warner Cable, as well as the issue of Net Neutrality.

As well, I would see the Google Fiber rollout as a boost for local government in Kansas City because the properties in the area that have Google Fiber past their doors become increasingly valuable to live in or do business there. It is a similar situation that has happened in various UK neighbourhoods where houses are assessed by prospective buyers on whether next-generation broadband is passing their doors or the property is connected to a next-generation broadband service.

Who knows what this means for other US cities who are pushing Google for their fibre-optic service?

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Wired broadband for the mobile-only household

Draytek VPN endpoint router

You can use a fully-functional router as part of a wired broadband service without the need to rent a classic telephone service

I have come across households that won’t operate a landline phone service and use mobile phones for their incoming and outgoing voice calls. In some cases, they even won’t run a wired broadband Internet service because they fear they have to pay a line rental to the incumbent telephone carrier for a landline service they don’t need. Instead they would use a mobile-broadband service for their Internet access needs, whether via a “Mi-Fi” device sharing the broadband via a Wi-Fi network with tablets and laptops or just by using mobile-broadband modems connected to or integrated in their mobile devices.

Which kind of users would this appeal to

This advice would appeal more to those of us who are in our premises for the long haul and don’t mind using an account with monthly postpaid billing for our services. On the other hand, a mobile-broadband service may have a better appeal where portability between premises or access to a prepaid service that can be worked into your budget matters.

What kind of connection

Dedicated infrastructure (Cable Internet, Fibre-to-the-premises, etc)

But you can use a wired broadband service in these situations. Here, you can order a broadband service which is based on dedicated-infrastructure technology. A cable-broadband, fibre-to-the-premises service or a fixed-wireless service is typically sold in a manner where you just pay for the dedicated infrastructure. Cable users can even just sign up for a service which has just the Internet service provided over the cable-TV infrastructure without the need to sign up for a pay-TV service.

Most of these services will require the installation of the necessary infrastructure and/or consumer-premises equipment if such infrastructure and equipment isn’t in place already. These services may also earn their keep if an ISP who offers naked / dry-loop DSL service won’t provide the service to a premises where there isn’t already an active telephone service.

Naked / Dry-loop DSL service

But you can use a DSL-based service which uses existing telephone wires, whether this is ADSL-based or VDSL as part of a fibre-copper next-generation broadband service. Here, you would need to sign up for a “naked DSL” service, also known as a “dry-loop” or standalone DSL service. These are provided in a manner where you don’t receive and pay line-rental for a classic landline telephone service, also known as a “dial-tone”. Rather, the telephone lines are used just for the DSL data service and some service providers may provide a “fully-optimised” DSL service which uses the whole bandwidth of the telephone line for the DSL data service.

This same service may also apply to a household or business who has a surplus telephone line along with one used for a classic land-line telephone service. These may be brought about due to a line used for a fax machine or dial-up Internet service or simply a separately-billed phone service for someone else living at home or for your home business, but you may end up purposing this line for a “naked ADSL” Internet service.

What kind of service plan

As for the communications service you sign up to, you would focus on a “data-only” service, also known as a “broadband-only” or “Internet-only” service without the need for a VoIP telephony or pay-TV service if you just want the data service rather than any telephony or pay-TV services.

On the other hand, they may offer a VoIP telephony service with call charges that represent increased value for money or an IPTV service as part of the package. They can be optioned on if you do need these services. The VoIP service will be typically delivered with a router that has an integrated analogue-telephony-adaptor or DECT base-station which works with most consumer fixed-line telephony equipment.

What this allows you to do

The main advantages you would have with these services would be higher bandwidth that is more available as well as a service that gives better value-for-money than the mobile-broadband service. As well, you can use a broadband router that provides improved functionality like wired Ethernet connections and an improved Wi-Fi access point. This device even opens up paths for improving your home network like using a network-enabled printer or a network-attached storage device that works reliably.

For that matter, you can keep your mobile broadband service more or less as a portable broadband solution for whenever you are “on-the-go” and away from home.

Conclusion

It is still worth considering a wired broadband service for your home if your mobile phone is your main telephone handset. Here, you obtain a service that is independent of a classic telephone service such as one based on dedicated infrastructure like cable or a “naked-DSL” service.

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Comcast–the first US cable provider to roll out IPv6

Article

Comcast shifts some customers to IPv6, promises it won’t hurt — Engadget

From the horse’s mouth

Comcast IPv6 Information Center

My comments

Comcast are rolling out a pilot deployment of IPv6-based Internet service. Here the customers will be those using a computer that is connected directly to a compatible DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem.

The computer will have to run Windows Vista or 7 for the Windows platform or MacOS X Lion for the Macintosh platform. This is because these operating systems are known to support a dual-stacked IPv4/IPv6 setup which the service will be based on. As well, these services will be provided with a unique full IPv6 address. Of course, Comcast will have 6to4 IP gateways in the network to bridge the IPv6 and IPv4 networks.

At the moment, there will be the rough edges through the deployment of this trial setup while the bugs are ironed out. A subsequent trial in the near future will then look at the use of home networks, but I would like to have this trial examine networks that are comprised of IPv4-only devices as well as dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 devices. This would also encompass access to legacy and IPv6 Internet services from both the legacy and the IPv6 devices.

Most likely this rollout will appeal and be targeted to some of the computer “geeks” who want to dabble in the latest setups. But I see it as a chance for Comcast, a mass-market cable-Internet provider, to put IPv6 through its paces before the full deployment commences. It also is an open chance for Comcast to put their findings about how their IPv6 deployment went to other cable-Internet providers who will be facing a requirement to roll up to this technology.

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High-speed cable Internet–is it really high-speed?

Article

thinkbroadband :: Virgin Media delivers 1.5Gbps cable broadband to TechHub

My comments

A common situation that I have noticed with cable Internet is that it tends to be overrated as far a the headline speed is concerned. Here, you have bandwidths of 10Mbps or more, including the abovementioned Virgin Media develoment that is driven by DOCSIS 3.0 cable-modem technology.

But the typical cable Internet development is a shared-bandwidth development unlike the ADSL development which is effectively “switched” with each subscriber having their own bandwidth. A cable system will typically have a headend which bridges the copper or fibre-delivered Internet service to the 75-ohm coaxial cable infrastructure and as the cable passes each door, it is split out in a similar vein to older coaxial-based 10Base2 Ethernet setups or the MoCA setup. In a lot of situations, the cable may be split at each street and the multi-tenancy buildings will have their cable split off from the street and, perhaps, at each floor.

The cable Internet providers then have to offer the big speeds to the customers in order to reduce the amount of contention that there is for the bandwidth on the cable.

But what they could do in neighbourhoods where the cable service is heavily subscribed would be to look at deploying more cable-Internet headends and bring the fibre or copper service to these headends. This could be done with streets that have many multi-dwelling units such as townhouse developments or blocks of flats (apartment blocks).

They can continue to roll out the high-speed Internet services like the 1.5Gbps service as well as implementing the abovementioned revisions to the infrastructure. It can then permit the cable services to achieve the headline speeds in most of the neighbourhoods  with plenty of room to spare for subscriber growth.

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Call this cheap in Germany -Kabel Deutschland offering 100Mbps broadband for 20 € per month!

Articles – all in German language

Kabel Deutschland: Highspeed-Internet für knapp 20 Euro pro Monat – COMPUTER BILD

From the horse’s mouth

Information page on Kabel Deutschland’s Website

Translated facts and my comments

It certainly shows that the DOCSIS-based cable modem is being forgotten as a broadband technology. This is especially as people think of the “switched” DSL technologies (ADSL and VDSL) and the hot-shot fibre-to-the-door technologies as the preferred broadband setups for the home network.

In Germany, Kabel Deutschland who is the main cable-TV provider there, are offering 100Mb/s “headline-speed” broadband and VoIP telephony for 20€ per month for the first 12 months (which is the minimum contract length). Then it will go to a month-by-month rate of 40€ per month for the same service. There is even the option of a 802.11n Wi-Fi router with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the LAN side for €49.90.

Like all European telephony+broadband and “triple-play” contracts, this one offers the “all-you-can-talk” for landline telephones in the country and for a few euro extra per month, “all-you-can-talk” to the common destinations in Europe, North America and Australia.

This service will be offered where Kabel Deutschland are running DOCSIS 3.0 technology for cable broadband which is at the moment 40% of the country.

This is an example of what lively competition can offer for telephony and broadband Internet. It also shows what can happen if another technology becomes popular in a country and companies who are standing behind a particular technology like cable Internet need to put this on the “radar”.

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Buyer’s Guide – Entry-level wireless routers

Netgear DG834G ADSL2 wireless router

Netgear DG834G ADSL2 wireless router

Are you thinking of moving away from the single desktop PC or laptop connected to the broadband Internet via a single-port modem using an Ethernet cable? Are you planning to head down the path of the “new computing environment” where you use a laptop computer that you can take around the house yet still remain connected to the Internet? Do network-enabled gadgets like Internet radios or WiFi digital picture frames appeal to you?

If so, you will need to buy and install a wireless router and these can be purchased for a small amount of money, typically under AUD$110 or US$60. This may also appeal to people who may want to “equip” their young-adult child who is leaving the family nest with one of these devices as well as a modest-specification laptop to study and “Facebook” on. In fact these routers can help you with saving money in the long term on your Internet connection especially if you aren’t interested in a “single-pipe triple-play” communications service.

The advice provided here will differ over time as manufacturers “push” features down to the entry-level wireless routers as newer technologies and standards are introduced to the home network.

What does the entry-level wireless router offer

Broadband (Internet) / WAN connection

Most entry-level wireless routers offer a connection for a wireline Internet service on the “Internet” or “broadband” side of the connection. This typically is in the form of an Ethernet connection marked as “Internet” or an integrated ADSL2 modem. They will support the access-authentication-accounting protocols being deployed by most of the Internet service providers including the big names in the marketplace.

The Ethernet-ended “broadband” routers will be primarily useful for people who sign up to Internet service where you have to use customer-premises equipment supplied by the Internet service provider. Such services typically include cable Internet (whether through the cable-TV set-top box or a separate modem), some ADSL Internet services, “next-generation Internet” such as fibre-optic services, or wireless-broadband that isn’t in the form of a USB-connected modem. If you do want to use regular ADSL service with these routers, you would have to purchase an ADSL modem that can work as a “bridge” (in the case of “wires-only” / “BYO modem” service) or configure supplier-provided ADSL equipment to work as such.

Saving money on setting up your Internet connection

Most ISPs, cable companies and telephone companies offer wireless home gateway devices at highly-inflated prices and are often set up so you don’t have much control over the device. In a lot of cases that I have observed, you may end up with equipment that. for example, won’t work properly with Skype or MSN Messenger because it won’t support the automatic port-forwarding functionality provided by UPnP IGD that is common with nearly all of the entry-level routers. As well, I have observed cases where the ISP-supplied wireless home gateway simply provides substandard performance or unreliable service; or simply is “technologically backward”.

If you intend to set up an ADSL-based Internet service, you buy a wireless router with an integrated ADSL2 modem; as well as the correct number of ADSL line or wallplate splitters for each phone socket in your home. Then you subscribe to an ADSL plan with a “wires-only” or “BYO modem” hardware option where you supply the customer-premises equipment i.e. the ADSL modem.

If you are setting up a cable-Internet service or similar service, you just need to purchase a “broadband” router with an Ethernet port for the Internet connection. Then you have the ISP who provides cable Internet provide you a cable modem with a single Ethernet port rather than their heavily-promoted wireless cable routers.  Your broadband bill will only reflect the cost of the single-port cable modem in the equipment tab.

Local network connection

The entry-level wireless router should have 4 Ethernet ports for use in connecting network hardware that uses Ethernet sockets. This also comes in handy with HomePlug powerline connections because you can connect your HomePlug-Ethernet bridge to one of these sockets and use the AC wiring as part of your home network.

Most of these units will have at least 802.11g WPA2 WiFi as their wireless connectivity, with some having 2.4GHz single-band 802.11n WPA2 WiFi providing this function. It may be preferable to go for a unit that supports WPS “quick-setup” connectivity so you can avoid frustration with setting up a secure wireless network. Some of these routers will use an integrated aerial while others will use one external aerial or, in some cases, two external aerials set up in “aerial-diversity” mode. The RF coverage for this network may suit the typical suburban house with timber or plasterboard interior walls based on a timber frame.

Functionality

Most of these routers will offer UPnP IGD functionality which allows programs like games and instant-messaging programs to establish links to the outside network without user intervention.

An increasing number of these routers will be equipped with a USB port that can be used for sharing peripherals over the home network. The applications that might be made available with this port will typically be printer sharing or file-server functionality using standard protocols and some of these routers may offer the ability to share a wireless-broadband modem as an Internet connection. But beware of those routers that use the port for “USB-over-IP” peripheral sharing where you have to run a “USB-over-IP” driver on each computer. Here, you would be limited to one computer being able to use the device at a time.

Best placement

These routers would suit households who are setting up their “new computing environment” with a laptop as their primary computer or are establishing their home network for the first time. This also includes people who may use a desktop computer connected to the unit via Ethernet and want to have a WiFi network segment for devices like electronic picture frames and Internet radios.

They may also suit secondary-home locations like holiday houses or city flats where you may not be doing much high-end Internet use like gaming.

If you do upgrade this router to a better unit, you can keep these units as a secondary wireless access point once you disable DHCP server and UPnP IGD functionality and allocate them an IP address within the same IP range as the router that you upgrade to has for the local network. Then you connect the router to the new network via the LAN ports. This can come in handy in the form of a dedicated WiFi-G (802.11g) network segment for a network that is moving to WiFi-N (802.11n) or simply as an extension access point for a WiFi-G network.

I wouldn’t recommend these routers as the network-Internet “edge” for small-business mission-critical use because of the inability to support high data throughput and mission-critical reliability. Nor would I recommend them for serious gamers who demand proper latency for their Internet fragfests.

Conclusion

Once you establish your first home network with an entry-level wireless router, you will wonder how you existed with the way you used the Internet before that.

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