Chinese telcos embark on IPv6 adoption

April 17th, 2013 by · 2 Comments

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China is moving a step closer towards large scale of commercial IPv6 adoption, as the three major telecom operators have begun upgrading their networks from IPv4.

Speaking at an industry event in Beijing last week, Chen Jiachun, deputy director at China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), said China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom are upgrading their networks to IPv6 in 20 cities across 14 provinces.

China Mobile, for example, is upgrading four operational bases and ten operational platforms. The company plans to introduce commercial trials of IPv6 in 10 cities this year, aiming at getting 3 million users.

The country’s largest mobile carrier will upgrade all networks in eastern China and half of the networks in the central and western regions by the end of 2015. Large-scale, commercial IPv6 operations are scheduled to begin in 2016, Digitimes reports.

On the device side, China Mobile will start the procurement of mobile terminals that support IPv6 from May, which includes devices for the TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE.

Similarly China Telecom plans to expand the IPv6 deployment to over 20 cities across the country with 3 million IPv6 users this year. The operator will upgrade and revamp backbone networks, complete the upgrading of the supporting systems in eastern provinces and part of the provincial metro area networks.

China Telecom will also conduct IPv6 commercial trials in some major cities, providing internet access and applications carried over IPv6 by end of this year.

In 2014-2015, China Telecom will proceed to large-scale commercial IPv6 deployment, providing “pure IPv6 access” in some provinces, and complete the upgrade of all support systems.

China Unicom, meanwhile, will transition to IPv6 in phases, in order to achieve a smooth deployment.

Ma Yan, deputy general manager of the technology department at China Unicom, said the operator is currently in commercial pilot and scale deployment phase.

The company will implement and deploy commercial IPv6 through eight major aspects, such as the commercial network deployment, business transformation, standards and specifications, in-field verification, IDC transformation, support systems and the user terminal.

Unicom is expected to have 3 million IPv6 broadband access users and begin development of IPv6 test on mobile internet by the year-end. The company plans to revamp and upgrade its business operations and supporting systems to ensure a seamless interoperability of IPv4 and IPv6 by the end of 2015, Ma told China High Tech.

The telcos’ moves are in line with the government’s network development policies set in the 12th five-year plan. The China government aims to reach a network penetration rate of 45% with more than 25 million IPv6 users, and switch the mobile networks from IPv4 to IPv6 by the end of 2015.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), China currently holds 14,563 IPv6 addresses, accounting for 11.58% of the global IPv6 addresses assigned. As for the end of March, China had 330 million IPv4 addresses, the administrative agency responsible for internet affairs under the MIIT said.

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