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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