Monday, 28 February 2011

IPv6/IPv4 backwards compatibility

I was almost stumped by one question when doing a talk at Reading Uni. Having explained IPv6 and answered a lot of questions, someone asked "So IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4 then?"

The reason I was stumped is that you have to have a pretty clear idea what you mean by "backwards compatible" to answer that.

Now, I would say that it means that "when you upgrade to the new thing you don't lost the ability to use the old thing"... To me that makes IPv6 "backwards compatible".

But he went on to make the analogy with a "blu-ray player, which can play DVDs, so backwards compatible" and complained that an "IPv6 only machine cannot access IPv4"...

The answer is simple. A blu-ray play has two lasers (or more) in it, one plays Blu-ray and one plays DVDs. I.e. it is a "dual stack" disk player. This is the same as having a machine that is dual stack with IPv4 (as before) and now IPv6 as well. It can automatically access IPv4 or IPv6 addresses on the Internet just as the Blu-ray player can automatically play BD or DVD disks. That's backwards compatible.

Making an "IPv6 only" machine is like taking out the DVD laser from a blu-ray player and making a "blue-ray only" disc player. Yes, that would be non backwards compatible, so, duh, don't do that!

I think that makes for a good analogy...

Saturday, 26 February 2011

How to get the government to understand?

They understand gas, and electric, and water, but for Internet access they seem to think that it is practical, sensible and even right for them to meddle with the industry to nanny and snoop on the public.

It seems that they understand things like electricity supply. It is reasonably obvious and intuitive to most people that the electricity company cannot tell what the electricity is being used for. They can tell it is notably high or low usage maybe, but not that it is used to run a counterfeit printing press or sun lamps for growing dodgy plants, or being used to run a computer that is copying someone else's music.

The clear misunderstanding is that they think "Internet" is somehow different. Because there are packets of information flying around they seem to think that ISPs can somehow tell what is going on and control what is going on.

At the most superficial level, you can. You can see what people are looking up in DNS and see what web sites they fetch. At the moment. To some extent. And, to some extent, you can block and control that. It is superficial at best.

Lots of things on the Internet are already heavily encrypted and more and more will be. Just visiting my on-line bank, my ISP cannot tell anything about what I am doing. I could be laundering money or something illegal, and they cannot tell. There are, already, easy to install and use encrypted distributed communications systems. They are often used for people that need to communicate in countries with oppressive government (which gives a clue as to where this government is going) but also by anyone that wants privacy.

The nature of the Internet is that if you can transport even one type of packet you can do everything and do it in a secure and encrypted way. Ironically, if we still had dial-up modems then video copying would be almost unheard of, yet the government is driving for high speed communications for everyone, practically encouraging the public to copy stuff!

If you take steps to monitor and restrict what people want to do, whether that is copying music or plotting a terrorist attack, and your measures have any success at all, then you just drive the communications more underground. You don't stop things happening. All you do is waste a lot of time and money for ISPs and other organisations. You might even make statistics that say you have succeeded.

(Actually, given that lots of people think the claims made of lost revenues are totally fanciful and in fact people don't have hundreds of millions of pounds stuffed down the sofa just waiting to be spent on legitimate music and videos, maybe this is the answer. If the media industries fooled themselves in to thinking the copying had stopped they could be happy with the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing they are not being ripped off. I dread to think what they would do if they actually did manage to stop copying! We'd have a whole generation not listening to music or telling their mates about the latest track or video, and nobody bothering to buy it... maybe...)

Think of Internet supply as a simple service like electricity supply. You could have the electric companies install meters that monitor electricity in detail, profiling current usage and power factors and so on, allowing a variety of activities to be identified with some degree of certainty. You could then make it that a third party suffering some civil wrong can require the electric company to install these meters and provide details of what they find, and maybe even limit the power usage or cut off the whole household (stopping not just the wrongdoing but legitimate uses of the electricity, and not just for the wrongdoer, but innocent parties in the same house).

Why exactly is that not happening for electricity suppliers? It is just as crazy as what we see from the media industry and even from the government in relation to Internet services.

Now, don't get me wrong. I make software. I am in one of the creative industries. I understand copyright. I have people copy software without permission from me. It is wrong for them to do that. I don't pretend they would have paid me for it though! The key difference is that I have not based my business model on imagining that I have total control of copying. I sell services that use software I write. I sell training courses. I sell support. I sell engraved coasters. I make my business model around what is in fact possible and sensible, not an imaginary magic wand. I also know that if someone did do a civil wrong to me, it would be me that has to take action, via the legal process that has existed for hundreds of years to resolve civil disputes, not to expect third parties to be forced to prop up my business model.

How do we make the government understand this?

Friday, 25 February 2011

Must resist the book of face...

OK this is getting silly - even playing someone else on facebook is addictive. I don't have the time. IRC is bad enough.

My ISP is net.uk ?

Impressive deal from telehouse

Apparently, from next month the

charge per unit of electricity will be increased to 0.145 pence per Kwh.

This is a stonkingly good price.
[yes, I know should be kWh]

P.S. Yes, I know of the verizon 0.002c/KB story too - classic.

IET Talk at Reading last night...

Thanks to everyone that turned up and for the interesting questions.

I've not done a talk before where the questions took 3 times the length of the talk, but they were actually quite sensible questions and a pretty full room...

Real shame I did not have today's xkcd for the talk though...

I think the IETF hit the right balance with the 128 bits thing. We can fit MAC addresses in a /64 subnet, and the nanobots will only be able to devour half the planet.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Orctastic

OK, he now has a name, Thrall Horde, an email address, a phone number, facebook and twitter (@ThrallHorde).

Web site coming soon.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

That, Jen, is "The Internet"! (pic)

I was pleased to be able to include in my presentation to LINX yesterday "The Internet".

It is surprisingly small, and obviously The Internet does not weigh anything. It is wireless, of course, but we had to be careful not to drop it or all hell would break loose.

We don't keep it at the top of Big Ben anymore - the Orc looks after it to ensure it is kept safe (see pic).

Thanks to Andrew for taking a trip to Maplins and putting it together over the weekend. I was posing for photographs all evening.

On the back it says:-

DO NOT DROP - NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY

Property of The Elders of the Internet

WARNING: Demagnetize before transport
(contact The Hawk for details)

Return to Big Ben

http://eoi.aa.net.uk/

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Koh-I-Noor, Priestwood, Bracknell

Always been a good Indian, and been there over 20 years. But yesterday I was surprised to find that not only do they have cider, but a reasonable cider on draft!

This is almost unheard of for an Indian restaurant. They do not usually know what cider is!

Highly recommended.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Loops of Zen

I am pleased to say that http://loopsofzen.co.uk/ has been updated to make the game more fun. This has involved subtle changes to the bias for randomised starting positions and based on feedback from users. Basically, far fewer single endpoint nodes.

The site is only available by IPv6 though. If you can't get to it, complain to your ISP.

Also works as http://[2001:8b0::102]/ 
Perhaps tell your ISP that URL does not work?!


P.S. Happy to acknowledge Arend Hintze for inventing the game. He does not appear to have patented it though, hence our version...

Alex meets Orc (pic)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

One time passwords

Having fun with OATH/OTP devices.
Just coded it in to FireBrick!

http://www.firebrick.co.uk/fb2700/oath.php

Sonim 3 year warranty

It seems the guarantee does work!

They are sending a replacement back/battery cover.

Thanks sonim.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Monday, 14 February 2011

Paul, the movie

Excellent....
Proper LOL

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Somin + 15 year old girl = fail! (pic)

Now to test the 3 year warranty for real this time, not just a DoA faulty display. I'll see if they have managed to improve things.

Story goes "I dropped it and the back fell off"

The screw fixing detached from the back - looks like a weak spot in the design on the XP2 Spirit. I'll see if they can cope with sending a new back.

Snoms and IPv6, fail! (pic)

Well, I was planning to spend the day getting the SNOMs using IPv6 working with our call server. Unfortunately I have hit a brick wall already.

James kindly set them up, checked they registered, and could at least try and make a call (no audio it seems), so I had a good starting point. He even gave me detailed notes, put the IPs in forward and reverse DNS and put labels on the phone for me. Pretty much exactly everything I could want.

Sadly not working, so I go to check the IP they actually have.

First failure, as you can probably just make out from the picture, is that the phone can no longer fit the IP on the screen when you press the help button. This normally shows the IP, and any IPv4 address fits, so they have no horizontal scrolling function. The IPv6 gets as far as showing me the network and runs out of space, d'oh!

So I go in to the phone menu to check the IP setting. That screen says my IP is

[20, 0, 0, 0

Which is not that helpful.

Sadly they are not registering, not ping[6]ing and just basically not working at all.

[Yes, I have tried turning it off and back on again!]

Sounds like back to the drawing board already.

This display issue does rather highlight that issues with IPv6 are not really going to be that technical. I bet there are loads of niggles like this, somewhat like Y2K, which will be easily fixed when people find them, but just have not been through about.

And yes, I know snom are way behind on IPv6, but we have lots of people with Snoms, and they are generally quite nice phones, so trying to get the buggers working.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

3 simple questions?

1. Do you connect me to "the Internet"?
2. Is "the Internet" only IP version 4?
3. What is my IPv6 address

Evil ideas and IPv6

I am trying to find an idea for a web site.

Needs to be something useful that people may quite reasonably want to
access.

Ideally something that costs us nothing or very little to run.

Something not in itself commercial, in that it does not matter that lots of people cannot (yet) access it.

Plan is that we need a web site that people can *only* access on IPv6.

There are some in China, but that is hardly a compelling argument.

It is specifically to have something to say to ISPs that do not do IPv6 yet and say "we have plenty of IPv4s" and somehow forget that their customers need to access IPv6 only endpoints (which will happen more and more) via their network. I.e. it does not matter how many IPv4 addresses they have really - the world has moved on and you provide a connection to "the world" [or not?].

Now, a game has been suggested, and we have www.loopsofzen.co.uk, which may be a good one for residential customers, but far to easy too dismiss for a business customer. That is likely to go IPv6 only shortly.

So I pondered... What if we had a web site for prospective customers that provided a discounted order for broadband or something...

Now, if another ISP was to filter one of our web sites and not allow their customers to access one of our web sites, would that be considered naughty (perhaps by OFCOM, BERR, trading standards, etc)? So an IPv6 only site that we run which other ISPs "filter" from their customers? Hmmm
 
Evil?
 
:-)

Take two phones in to the shower? not me!

I take my Sonim XP2...

Yes, I can text and call from the shower now. Would be rude not to have tried it...

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Sonims bounce :-)

15 year old Daughter takes her new Sonim XP2 Spirit to school.

Apparently they were taking turns throwing it at the floor!!!

Not a scratch - very cool.

Anonymous call from Barclays

Why? Is it to flag you as "stupid" on the account. I mean, if I was a bank, and called a customer asking personal details over the phone from an anonymous number, and they gave it, then I would make note.

After all, any fraud later would be "We have on record that you are quite happy to give personal details regarding your Barclays account to anonymous callers on the phone, so we have to assume you broke the terms of your account (again) and gave details to a fraudster - no refunds".

Is it some con?

Or just a stupidity test?

Oh, second trick was for him to give me a number to call him on !!! LOL

Turned out to be real, i.e. from Barclays, having called back on known numbers. Took 6 minutes and about as many call transfers to get to the bottom of it though.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Sonim 3 year warranty ok?

Well after a shaky start, it seems that Sonim are keen to sort things out after all.

Lets see how it goes. To be honest we are thinking of selling them. The Nokia models we got in have literally fallen to bits, so this makes a lot more sense.

If the support side can be sorted, and we get to the bottom of what happened, then we'll look at stocking them to sell with our 3G services.

My daughter has her new one (again) and still in one piece, and mine arrives tomorrow...

So watch this space.

Sonim 3 year warranty is no use?

Basically, their UK support centre have totally ignored me - numerous emails, and waiting 24 hours (as suggested by someone in the US support side) gets nothing.

What is the point of a 3 unconditional year warranty if they won't even reply?

Time to just send back to the dealer for a credit.

Just to add, the dealer, handtec, have not replied after 24 hours either.

Shame.

Update: The CEO of Sonim has been in touch with me this evening (aren't blogs fun), and we are discussing how this can be improved, so watch this space!!!

More meddling - this time porn

Once again we are seeing more meddling with internet access by the government.

We thought they had realised that this is pointless.

Previously it was the IWF block list. Now, bear in mind that even the IWF did not claim this was there to stop anyone wanting to access kiddie-porn getting to it - they were just trying to stop people finding the stuff by accident. It would be almost impossible to stop access, even with a full China style firewall.

Now they are targeting normal porn sites, again with a think of the children angle. They are trying to stop children getting access to porn.

It is pointless, in that there will be any number of ways around this, and some teenage boy that wants to find porn will be able to regardless. Sorry, but that is just fact. I won't even try and discuss the merits of whether this actually is a bad thing, or whether parents need to take responsibility for talking to their kids and/or setting up filtering on their computers.

But getting filtering at the ISP level is a massive task. The IWF list was pretty tiny, and badly managed. It kind of got  foot in the door in that it meant "filtering web pages" was supposedly possible. Some of us said that it is just a cunning plan to get a foot in the door, the thin end of the wedge. But as a system it causes no end of of problems, techically.

Of course the porn filtering is clever. It is targeted as protecting children, but they want an opt-out. So you have to ask your ISP not to filter porn. That is nice. Everyone is going to be really happy telling their ISP that they want to view porn. It is not that adults viewing porn is wrong or illegal, but nobody actually wants to admit to it... So the filter will be a huge success as far as the government is concerned, and they'll have this nice list of people that view porn in to the bargain...

Censorship is bad. Living in a world that allows free speech is good. It is good for keeping checks on governments. Censorship is a creeping disease that starts with something reasonable like kiddie-porn and then just takes small steps, each reasonable, until you have a firewall like they have in China. Eventually you can censor free speech totally. It is better to live in a world of free speech where we will have some unpleasantries from time to time than live in a censored world with government controlled media and nobody to speak out.

  • First they came for the kiddie-porn, and I did not speak out as I am appalled by child abuse.
  • Then they came for the ordinary porn, and I did not speak out as there was an opt out, so that was OK isn't it?
  • Then they came for the terrorist web sites, and I did not speak out as nobody wants to encourage terrorists.
  • Then they came for the anti-government sites, and I did not speak out as everyone wants a well run government.
  • Then they came for the anyone that wants free speech, and [WEB SITE BLOCKED]

Monday, 7 February 2011

Burtons 20%

OK, reply from Tesco suggested they know what they are doing but do not actually know how to explain it.

However, Burtons state :-

"The VAT is the 20% discount on selected lines, so the 'GET THE VAT BACK' is the 20%."

That sort of suggests that they do not understand that getting the VAT back is not the same as 20% discount.

Now that is sad!

Sonim XP2.10 spirit 3G

Well, finally got one. It was not actually for me but my daughter, as she seems able to break a phone within seconds.

I am fed up with replacing them, especially as I can't find the receipt for the last one.  And of course borrowing her mum's phone while I sort it, she breaks that.

So, she gets an indestructible phone this time, and I don't care if it looks pretty or not.

The Sonim XP2.10 spirit looks perfect for the job.

Now, it is not a latest generation smart phone, so not touch screen or full keyboard, but is a pretty good conventional smart phone. Has email and web browsing, etc. Full colour display. 3Mpix camera. Looks like a pretty good phone.

Heck! this is a phone you could use in the shower as it is properly waterproof.

Main thing is the fact it is really tough, designed for builders to use, and has a 3 year unconditional guarantee.

Well I did not expect to be using the guarantee just yet - I have only had it since 08:15 today. But somehow my daughter has broken it before even touching it this time! (OK I can't really blame her this time). The display has gone all stripy. Arrrrg!

Well, I suppose we get to see how good their guarantee is... I'll report back.

Quote of the day

"I have someone on the phone saying they are not technical enough to check for dial tone - great start to the day :("


I feel sorry for my staff some times...

IPv6 and office printers

Well, we ordered a new office printer as the old one is finally falling to bits (literally).

It was in fact ordered minutes before my new mandate that we only buy IPv6 capable kit :-)

However, it arrives, and yes, does IPv6. In fact the IPv6 "just worked" and it took them a few minutes to sort the IPv4...

It just goes to show that some manufacturers heeded the many warnings that came out back in 2007 and started actually including IPv6 in their development processes.

Xerox Colorcube 8570

Impulse buying

Well, I commented on the demise of shops and how Internet based companies works so well. Today I was really impressed!

At 11:30 yesterday (yes, SUNDAY) I ordered a phone from a company called handtec.

I got the usual emails confirming my order a few minutes later.

This morning at 07:45 I got an email saying expect delivery between 08:08 and 09:08

It just arrived, 08:15 using a carrier called DPD

OMG! I have never had a "next day" order from Sunday delivered Monday.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Quote of the day "Most cp's have plenty of ipv4 space left"

That was a supplier, when told we will not buy non IPv6 services and kit. I won't say who said this, but this is a sad state of affairs.

As I try to explain:- 

What makes you think this is about CPs having IPv4 space?

(a) ISPs (LIRs) forecast 6 months when requesting from RIPE, so they should not have more than 6 months left when RIPE run out. RIPE expect to run out in months, not years. By the end of the year we would expect CPs to be running out, or at the least seriously limiting how they issue IPv4.

(b) Right now there are endpoints on the Internet which our customers might want to access and are IPv6 only. It does not matter how many IPv4 addresses I have, if I do not provide IPv6 routing to my customer they cannot access all of the Internet.

The second point is relevant here - the Internet is not just IPv4. From now on we will see increasing numbers of cases where an endpoint is IPv6 only. It may be specific uses of services in specific networks initially, but eventually it will be proper public web sites and mail servers and the like. It only takes one endpoint to be IPv6-only and our customer needing to access it, and you have a problem, now!

P.S. Thanks to Simon on irc for finding an example http://video6.ustc.edu.cn/ 
Without IPv6 you cannot get to that and the apparent IPv4 version has no routing and anyway it links to pages like http://[2001:da8:d800::88]/tvplay/video@ustc.asx

Tescos reply again

Saying "a 20% discount...is the same as the new VAT rate"!

Well, clearly they do understand, but they don't really have a way to explain it do they? And really, "Miss" ?

Hello Miss Kennard.

First I apologise for my delayed response.

I’m sorry you were unhappy with our previous response.

We’re providing customers with a 20% discount on selected goods; which is the same as the new VAT rate from January 4th this year.

Whilst we’re promoting this as VAT free customers will still be paying VAT on the goods. So whilst you’re still paying the VAT on the goods, we’re offering a 20% discount to help. Essentially, we would be unable to sell goods without VAT being added.

If we were to take the exact VAT amount off each item on sale, then the discount would be 16.66%. So by taking off 20% we’re giving that little bit extra saving to customers.

I hope you’ve found this information helpful and thank you for contacting Tesco.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Why are people seeing this as something out of the blue?

I am in danger of this being called a VM hate site. It was bad enough being called a BT hate site once. Not the idea I assure you. I'm trying to tell it like it is, and giving a chance for replies too.

So, thanks to the comment from the man from VM. It does show they are working on it, which, to be frank, is better than a lot. I have had long discussions with ISPs that really had no idea at all that IPv4s were running out and that they themselves might run out soon, and that really is depressing.

What gets me is why this is seen as "out of the blue" so much. I know the forecasters for IPv4 depletion have varied in opinions from time to time, but not by a huge amount. Even so, as soon as there were forecasters counting down people should have been taking steps. The end may not have been nigh yet, a couple of years ago, but the fact there was going to be an end was clear. The fact we were going to have to support IPv6 was clear. So why just carry on as if nothing was happening?

Why wait until the end to start doing anything, or in some cases to think about starting to do something. That is what really gets me.

I can't understand why every DSL router manufacturer did not have IPv6 in last years models? That would have given them years to have planned it so not a rush. It would have been fine in there along with IPv4. Why ISPs were not offering IPv6 years ago (like we were), even if it was a bit geeky and not heavily used yet. A huge chance to get the kinks out of the system before things got more serious. Why has everyone dragged their heels.

Anyway, too late to worry about the past, we have to get the message home.

I am delighted to see someone asking VM for a fibre quote where native IPv6 is essential. More people do that and either plans for ISPs will get escalated, or we'll make lots of money :-)

What hope is there?

Someone from a major ISP says "Not true! There are no destination end points that are v6 only. Everything is dual stacked so that v4 can route to v6 addys"

They think all endpoints on the Internet can be accessed by IPv4!

As a statement it is simply not true! That is clear. There are endpoints on the Internet that are not accessible by IPv4 but are by IPv6. That is a simple FACT. I have a computer on my desk that is exactly that. It cannot be accessed by IPv4 no matter how hard you try.

The comment was made that they could do IPv6, and will when the need to. I said they need to as soon as one endpoint on the Internet is IPv6 only else they are not providing access to the whole Internet.


The idea that their customers may want to access a machine on some other site that is IPv6 connected only is beyond their comprehension (perhaps what IPv4 it has being NATed or proxied or they have NAT64). They seem to think that unless they can find some big web site that is IPv6 only then all is well. I suspect there are web sites in China already, catering for the local market where IPv6 has been in use for years. It will be interesting if people can find me some examples.

But even if what he says was true, in a matter of months, not years, there will be no more IPs at RIRs. With LIRs forced to forecast for 6 months and soon 3 months, they will soon follow the RIRs. There will be hosting companies even now that are restricting availability of IPv4 addresses knowing they will run out if they do not, and making IPv6 only web sites commercially sensible. Indeed, we expect to have some proper web sites on IPv6 only very soon, just to prove a point.

The time really has come.

If you are not providing IPv6 you are not providing a connection to "the Internet". Simple as that. The current Internet protocol is IPv6. It is not the new, or next generation, it is the current version. IPv4 has run out. All IANA IPv4 address blocks allocated.

If now is not the time to get their act together, will they ever? What exactly are they waiting for, and why? Saying they could do IPv6 now but don't need to yet is just mad, IMHO.

We need some useful website that is IPv6 only

Not sure what to put on it - I could do a load of training material or something.

Needs to be a web site that is set up as IPv6 only though.

Main objective is so that people with IPv4 only links can say to support "I can't get to www.???.co.uk"

After much investigation the support may spot it is IPv6 only and say that is why. But the user then goes on to explain "it's a web site, it is on the Internet, I can get it from home. Is what I buy from you not the *whole* Internet then?"

Ideally some page that is itself not IPv6 centric.
Maybe a signup for some service that is useful.

I'll have to ponder what we can do for that.

Virgin fibre IPv4 only!

Note: See comments for more "official" comment from Virgin on this.

A friend just got a virgin fibre in - only IPv4!
Asked about IPv6 and said "we don't support IPv6"
So explained IPv4 has run out, and they say "we have enough"

So how exactly does my friend connect to the rest of the world and IPv6 hosts?
Apparently the answer is they "do not guarantee anything beyond their own network" so the fact the rest of the world might have some IPv6 is not relevant.

Basically, "tough"...

Sounds to me like not actually any Internet connection then!

memcpy: Minor "D'uh" moment on my part, and warning to the wise.

In all the years of writing C code, how did I not spot this.

I know memcpy is not safe if src and dst overlap. I know I should use memmove.
This is not news...

Somehow I managed to not take in this detail when dst is ahead of src in memory.
Somehow I have got away with that for god knows how many years.

Just so you know, some versions of gcc are now optimising to copy from right hand back to left hand or some such, in some cases. i.e. memcpy is not safe if src and dst overlap, either way.

Just one of those silly mistakes from the earliest days of learning C code, many decades ago, which somehow had not caused any problems, until today!

Some global editing has been going on this morning to make sure I am not caught out by it again. I feel so stupid. I may have to go and get a new copy of K&R and re-read it :-)

World IPv6 day - a challenge to manufacturers?

World IPv6 day (8th June) is a day that lots of bits of the internet will have IPv6 enabled. It is a trial run to confirm how well things work, and people like google, and facebook are involved. Lots of people are getting involved, which is excellent.

The day is just a line in the sand - another milestone - much as yesterday was. Except this time we know the date in advance and can make it a real deadline for some things.

For us, it is hard to participate in World IPv6 day as we have been doing it for years. It is the same as any other day. One point the man from google made to this at UKNOF was that we would get more calls from people that have mis-configured networks that cannot get to facebook. He did not realise quite how we work. We have had IPv6 on our web site for years, and hundreds of sites we host. For all our customers www.google.com has an IPv6 address. Our mail servers have IPv6. Anyone that has a mis-configured network will have problems now and so they were solved long ago. We may get more calls because of the publicity, but not for any technical reason.

So how can we participate? and how can other ISPs that are in fact on the ball participate?

Well, I have an idea. We are going to make a list of targets for us. Many will be simply checking things - making sure every service is IPv6 and even checking it an from IPv6 only networks to be sure we have missed nothing. We know our status pages (hosted off network) are not IPv6, but will be. We know we can't gateway IPv6 to IPv4 VoIP calls, but we will have that in place. I can't think of anything else we fail on, but the idea is we will check and test everything to be sure.

But one of the big commitments we can try for is to ensure we are not selling any equipment that only works on IPv4 after World IPv6 Day.

That gives our suppliers a challenge. If they cannot provide an IPv6 version by then, we stop buying. That means DSL routers, VoIP phones, data SIM cards, the lot. We either find someone that does IPv6 on the kit or we don't sell that product any more.

Basically, as far as we are concerned, equipment sold for connection or use with "the Internet" will not be fit for purpose if it cannot work with the current version of the Internet Protocol. It is only fair to set a deadline for that, and we are saying World IPv6 Day is that deadline.

Now, we are a small ISP, so what we need is somehow to get some momentum. To get this challenge taken up by other ISPs and other equipment suppliers. How about people like dabs saying they will only stock IPv6 capable equipment? Or PCWorld?

To be honest, all it needs is Trading Standards to say that they consider anything sold to work with "the internet" has to work with IPv6 or be marked as "Legacy IPv4 only" clearly... That does not stop people making and selling kit, but they would have to fess up that it is using out of date protocols and will have limited use... if enough people ask when they buy, or send back what they buy, then that will get the message across.

So, lets make World IPv6 Day a challenge shall we?

Thursday, 3 February 2011

No more IPv4

Just a few minutes ago today at 14:30 IANA ceremonially handed over the last blocks of IPv4 addresses to the five regional registries.

It is down hill from now on.

I am pleased to say that we (AAISP) are ordering our first batch of IPv6 ADSL routers today, and expect to be supplying to customers in a couple of weeks.

(The Chinese New Year had delayed things slightly)

P.S. do listen to The day the routers died

Metro, today, IPv6

AAISP have been doing IPv6 for 8 years, and we are providing IPv6 by default now, but still, I did get a mention, which is nice.

http://e-edition.metro.co.uk/2011/02/03/

They have the number of addresses out by a factor of a trillion trillion :-)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Special Faults Investigation

In case you did not know, SFI has changed, and now called SFI2. This has a slight change in the way it is done.

The problem we have always had with SFI is that it involved paying if the engineer could not find a fault. This can happen for many reasons, including intermittent faults and faults that just "go away by themselves". The cost involved is months if not years worth of profit margin for a DSL line, so just not on.

If there is proof the end users was a numpty then we have no real problem passing on charges to them. If there is no such proof then we don't pay charges.

When it was SFI, it was sold as a "service". The service involved trying to find and fix a fault and charging more if the fault could not be found. If fact if the fault was found to be in the network the charge was £0.

This was easy to dispute - simply don't order this "service". After all we have bought and paid for a broadband service which is not working. Why would we buy another service. The broken broadband has to be fixed regardless. This works as a dispute, and we have disputed all the charges for a long time.

Now we have SFI2, and it is pitched differently. Now it is part of the fault repair process. So where can charges come in? You cannot charge for repairing a fault! So what are the charges? Well, to me they can only be viable, legally, if they are costs resulting from a breach of contract. This can make sense. After all there are missed appointment charges. If we agree to arrange access to a site, and then don't arrange access, the appointment is missed and there are costs because we did not do what we agreed to do. So the charges for an SFI2 could be because we did not do what was agreed. If we agree to test all the end user equipment and confirm there really is a faulty at the master socket, and then don't do that, and that has costs, fair enough, we have to pay.

But this means faults that go away, or are intermittent are not valid to be charged. They are not a result of us breaching the contract. They are just bad luck for the supplier and most certainly matters beyond our control. Penalties in this case cannot be valid.

What we cannot accept is someone making more business and more money from faults in their service, or making money from failing to find or fix a fault. Such arrangement encourage poor quality equipment and wiring and diagnosis. It is simply not on.

Now, I have to say that our favourite telco has not been too bad of late. We have a bit of an impasse on this but we do manage to dispute all of the charges.

Sadly there is the chance that our alternative telco may be heading the way that they used to be - lets hope it gets resolved or it will be time to name and shame. So far they have not been a problem, so we will see.

TESCO and 20% off == VAT-Free shopping

"Thank you for your email in which you ask how much we are deducting at our checkouts as shown on our new Television advert. The standard rate of VAT increased from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent on 4 January 2011.

For any sales of standard-rated goods or services that Tesco make on or after 4 January 2011  VAT at the 20 per cent rate must be applied. For this reason Tesco 20 per cent off savings mean VAT-Free shopping – whether that's on luxuries like a fashionable jacket or lovely lingerie – or basics to make their lives easier such as laptops. We've got lots of bargains on a range of products – and customers can expect more from us in the coming weeks."

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

What next for IP?

Well, my name is not Agnes Nutter, so you have to treat this more as musings that predictions...

IPv4 finally hitting the end stops - so what next?

Well, lets look at IPv6 first. It has suffered from chicken and egg syndrome a lot for many years - with people not deploying IPv6 services as there are no users, and users not seeing any point as there are no IPv6 services...

Can that work for us now? Can the fact we now have an egg help create chickens faster? I hope so. I hope that momentum will mean IPv6 take up goes really quickly. I hope in a years time we are looking back and laughing at it all. I don't know, and I worry that IPv4 will some how cling on to the bitter end with NAT and mapping and SRV records and all sorts somehow keeping it going... Let's hope not.

We know the big stumbling block has been IPv6 capable consumer routers. At last it is happening. Give it a few months and you will not be able to buy a DSL router that does not do IPv6. And bear in mind, people do not keep this kit for years - you are lucky when things last longer than a 12 month warranty these days. So a couple of years and all end users will, by simple updates, be using an IPv6 capable router.

The ISPs are not daft either. They know they have to move now, and will. Thankfully,  whilst it may be months of planning, it is not that hard. Normal maintenance and a few months work and some equipment and systems upgrades... Give it 6 months and ISPs will be IPv6 ready - they have to be.

At that point you have consumers everywhere that happen to have IPv6, without planning it or thinking about it - it will just happen naturally. People won't even realise it has happened and won't realise that www.google.co.uk is now working via IPv6. I will be surprised if this is not within 2 years.

Then, we have a case where IPv6 only services are really viable. Until then it is tricky as some people can't get to you. But there will be a tipping point when IPv6 is no problem. We saw it with browsers - there was a point when any sensible web site did not try and use javascript - now you can safely use it anywhere.

So, that is the rise of IPv6, all looking good and just a question of how long it takes.

What of IPv4? This is where I am really pondering. There are around 3.5 billion IPv4 addresses out there and they are now a limited resource. The last gold mine has been mined dry. What happens to that?

A simple and obvious thing that has to happen right away is the value of IPv4 addresses rises. Until today they were free if you needed them (excepting membership fees). Any higher value was speculative. Now you cannot get them for free any more. They have value. But what does that mean?

Everyone providing any services that consume IPv4 addresses will have to consider the price for that service. It is worth more. It has a higher price than IPv6 usage. It does not matter if broadband, hosting, virtual servers, ssl web sites, whatever. If it uses an IPv4 it is worth more. You can charge more. You need  to charge more else you use up what IPv4s you have left.

So the economics change, drastically, and quickly. Simply having IPv4 space is now an asset - it is really worth wasting it on customers? We are not there yet, but how long before ISPs start using NAT even when they do not need to because they need to maximise a disposable asset? Some people will really need IP space, and some could just do with it, and some will have it. This creates a market place. Could there be IPv4 hording? What of IPv4 trading for the sake of IPv4 trading, like trading art - people not actually using the space, just holding it as an asset that will gain value? If fact, using it de-values it as it is harder to stop using it when you sell it...

When IPv4's start trading at £100 each, it may be worth selling a small ISP that has 100,000 IPv4s? No plans to, but what if they get to £1000 each?

Scams... We have not seen what the world of fraud will come up with! I am not sure I can even speculate on that. There will be scams of all sorts. The registries have made changes to make it hard to hijack IP space or sell it when it is not yours, but that won't stop the scams...

Entry level broadband IPv6 routers?

OK, just had an email from a supplier - they have entry level IPv6 broadband routers. We are getting a sample. The pricing is similar to what we do now (IPv4 zyxel router), so would allow us to switch over to supplying IPv6 routers as the standard supply freebie router with new services...

Ideally we want to be supplying *only* IPv6 capable routers by the end of this month. A challenge I know.

Watch this space...

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Well, that looks like that.

At midnight on the morning of 1st Feb 2011 IANA announced two more /8's allocated to APNIC (39/8 and 106/8) leaving the final five /8s, one for each of the RIRs.

The policy is that these final five /8s are allocated to the five RIRs immediately, and we expect this to be formally announced 14:30 Thursday.

So, no more allocations from IANA after that!

(Well, technically, there is a pool for returned allocations, but that is going to be a tad rare)

http://www.apnic.net/publications/news/2011/leading-global-internet-groups-make-significant-announcement-about-the-status-of-the-ipv4-address-pool