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Specialist Task Force 440:
”Cable Network Transition to IPv6”

Who we are:

Team Leader Greg White (TC Cable Chairman) CableLabs

Team Members Simon Kang (TC Cable Vice Chairman) UPC Broadband
Volker Leisse Cable Europe
Milan Erbes RATEL
Charles Cheevers ARRIS
Margo Dolas Broadcom
Dave Walton Echostar
Daniel Etman Cisco
Tatiana Kovacikova University of Zilina

STF Leader Simon Kang (TC Cable Vice Chairman) UPC Broadband

STF Members Milan Erbes RATEL
Tatiana Kovacikova University of Zilina
Philip Rickman Exact Technologies Limited
Wim Henderickx Alcatel-Lucent Bell
Daryl Tanner Virgin Media
Volker Leisse Cable Europe
Michael Gannon Gannon Consulting Ltd

What we do:

In the framework of its standardization activities related to cable networks, ETSI has set up a Specialist Task Force 440 on the Cable Network Transition to IPv6 in order to assess the current status of Cable equipment standards and the approaches for their transition to IPv6. Since the time to market is a factor considering the depletion of IPv4 addresses, this work accommodates an urgent need in the industry for standardization in this area. Resulting from the findings of its assessment, the Specialist Task Force 440 will develop Technical Specifications for transition technologies in cable networks and define requirements on network and device architecture and design. Detailed technical requirements for the components of the transition technology will be specified as well as means for their verification.

For more details, see our Terms of Reference

Why we do it:

IPv6 transition is critical to the long-term sustainability of European and global networks. As more and more services and industries come to rely on the global Internet as a fundamental platform, the need for ubiquitous connectivity of devices and services becomes very urgent. Such near-term strategic areas like Mobile Internet and Smart Grids as well as the continued growth in residential and business broadband access services are poised to introduce massive numbers of devices that require network connectivity, which may not easily be provided by the current Internet (IPv4) networks with its depleting address space.

Widespread adoption of IPv6 has been identified as the best way forward to address the exhaustion of the IPv4 address space. Prompt and efficient adoption offered potential for innovation and leadership in advancing the Internet, and that delayed adoption of IPv6 would lead to disadvantages for all users and a weaker competitive position of the industry. In the meantime, we have seen the exhaustion of the IANA Unallocated IPv4 Address Pool on 3 February 2011, and the exhaustion of the RIPE NCC IPv4 Address Pool is approaching. The urgency to transition broadband Internet networks to IPv6 is becoming critical.

While device manufacturers, software developers and network operators are adopting IPv6, the vision of an Internet running IPv6 only will not become reality any time soon. For a considerable period of time, significant numbers of devices and services will exist that customers want to use and that require IPv4 connectivity. An immediate replacement of these IPv4 hosts and networks may not be feasible or not desirable for various technical and economic reasons. It is particularly the task of access network operators and broadband service providers to ensure customer choice in terms of technology and services. Appropriate transition technologies enable the coexistence of IPv6 and IPv4 in various parts of the end-to-end network allowing services to be consumed and customer premises equipment to be used transparently while fostering a smooth transition to the required extended address space provided by IPv6.

Integrated broadband cable and television networks are recognized as one of key enablers in supporting Europe’s Digital Agenda. As of 2009, cable networks go into the home of 67 million customers in the European Union, providing Digital TV, Broadband Internet and Telephony services. Broadband Internet provided by Cable Networks utilizing DOCSIS cable modem technology provide services to 20.9 million subscribers in Europe (2009) with access speeds of currently up to 200 Mbit/s. This figure has grown by at least 12% annually. As such Cable Networks provide the platform to satisfy fundamental entertainment, communication and information needs to consumers. Furthermore, the industry is anticipating a transition to delivery of digital television using broadband cable modem technology, which will dramatically increase the number of broadband connected households. To continue to meet the demand of accelerating connectivity of digital devices, a standardized approach for the cable eco-system to rapidly transition to IPv6 is required. A failure for an effective standards driven transition would impair the ability to achieve cost effective solutions on a large scale.

How we do it:

The STF 440 completed a phase 1 study with the development of an ETSI Technical Report TR 101 569 which covers the current limitations in deployed standardised equipment and to provide technical guidance to the European Cable Industry to enable cable Internet service providers to use technologies that can facilitate the economical transition of their networks and customer premises equipment to IPv6. The ETSI TR 101 569 provides in a first phase the information required to enable cable service providers to build common technical approaches for the transition of their equipment through development of series of technical specifications affecting the current and future cable equipment, events.
In phase 2, the STF 440 is developing the ETSI Technical Specification, TS 101 569-1 defining equipment and end-to-end system requirements for broadband cable networks to enable the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.


ETSI TR 101 569 will be soon available.

Time plan:

The currently proposed work will be completed in a single phase, and will consist of the development of a comprehensive technical report describing the transition technologies that can be utilized for IPv4 to IPv6 transition, their characteristics, their applicability to broadband cable networks, and recommended practices for their use.
Further work will be delivered this year as shown below.

  • Phase 1 - ETSI TR 101 569 describing the transition technologies that can be utilized for IPv4 to IPv6 transition
  • Phase 2 (current work) – ETSI TS 101 569-1 defining the standards required to support the recommended transition technology
  • Phase 3 – Testing standards to prove compliance with the defined standards
  • Phase 4 – Migration strategy from IPv4 to IPv6

How to contact us:

  • Greg White CableLabs
  • Simon Kang         skang@LGI.COM UPC Broadband 
  • Volker Leisse Cable Europe


This information is based upon STF working assumptions.
The views expressed do not necessarily represent the position of ETSI in this context.

Last updated: 2013-02-14 15:10:16