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CableLabs Tests Voice Over IPv6

CableLabs hosted an interoperability event for IPv6 -- the next-generation Internet protocol -- over the course of two weeks last month, which included the successful completion of a PacketCable 2.0 SIP call over IPv6.

A group of 17 companies participated in the event, including Comcast and Cox Communications. Held Oct. 11-22 at CableLabs' Louisville, Colo., headquarters, it was the fourth in a series of semiannual IPv6 interoperability events.

Internet service providers will be forced to move to IPv6 soon, given that the current supply of IPv4 addresses is nearing exhaustion.

As of last month, less than 5% of IPv4 addresses remained unallocated, meaning the current 4.29 billion IPv4 addresses could be depleted by mid-2011 or earlier, according to the Number Resource Organization (NRO), the organization that oversees the allocation of all Internet number resources. IPv6 has an astronomically large 128-bit address space, compared with IPv4's 32-bit numbering scheme.

At the CableLabs event, the companies tested IPv6 interoperability in a range of products including: DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems, DOCSIS 2.0+IPv6 cable modems, cable modem termination systems, PacketCable E-DVAs, e-set-top boxes, provisioning servers, home gateways, large-scale network-address translation (NAT) servers and test tools.

Companies that participated in the interop included: A10, Arris, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Cox, D-Link, Incognito, Motorola, SCTE, Shenick, Spirent, STMicroelectronics, Technicolor, Texas Instruments, Ubee and the University of New Hampshire Interop Lab.

"Suppliers have demonstrated significant progress in their support for IPv6. This is a very important technology for cable operators, and it is encouraging to see such a strong commitment from the industry's supply community," Chris Donley, CableLabs project director of network protocols, said in a statement.

The IPv6 interop event was "extremely useful for Cox," said Jason Weil, Cox principal architect for technology architecture.

The CableLabs' team worked with Cox engineers to mimic the operator's IPv6 dual-stack trial configuration, which included a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem, standalone home gateway supporting DHCPv6 Prefix Delegation and Windows 7 client as part of the interop, Weil said.

Participants also tested DOCSIS IPv6 provisioning, Internet video streaming, eRouter and standalone home router configuration, and interoperability with PCs running Windows XP, Windows 7, Mac OS X and Linux. In addition, CableLabs demonstrated NAT444 and Dual-Stack Lite, two key IPv4/IPv6 coexistence technologies.