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No IPv6 on AT&T Mobility – for now

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment

As a treat to myself, I decided to purchase a 4G hotspot for days when I am traveling. I looked at everyone’s product and decided on the AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G by Sierra Wireless.  Connected it up, had good service everywhere I went, until one day I tried to access several websites that would not work. After researching them on my home network I realized that those websites were IPv6 only.

During this research, I had my hotspot stolen and had to make a decision how to handle it. I called AT&T and reported the loss of the hotspot and discovered they did not know anything about IPv6. Once the service was disconnected, I informed them, I was not going to need the service anymore. I was passed to another person who attempted to entice me into purchasing another product, but without IPv6 I decided it was easier to cut bait.

Searching on Google for “IPv6 AT&T Mobility” I discovered a website that promised me “AT&T is prepared for IPv6 across our products, services, and network infrastructure for all of our customers. Most customers will not need to take any action for IPv6 – AT&T has you covered”, but no date was listed of when they were going to implement.  Looking at the page information in my browser however, I did notice that AT&T included Meta tags describing the ISP I was on, the location, longitude and latitude, bandwidth, the browser I was using and the search terms I had used to arrive at this page: (http://www.att.com/esupport/ipv6.jsp#fbid=HKAOQIIfiBM).

In addition, I noticed multiple comments that AT&T iPad 3G does not support IPv6[1], and saw this interesting quote: “AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has not yet replied to LR Mobile’s questions about its IPv6 plans. The operator’s CTO, John Donovan, however, says in his blog that AT&T has been working on its “multi-year” IPv6 transition since 2006.”[2] Deciding to give them a fighting chance, I began researching the Sierra Wireless device I purchased, figuring that maybe if they don’t have it yet working on their infrastructure, at least they would be ready by ensuring the mobile devices they sell to their customers supported Ipv6. Well I was wrong.

I accessed the Sierra Wireless website, and using the search button provided I did a search for IPv6. What I discovered is that none of the products including AirCard Mobile Broadband Devices, AirPrime Embedded Wireless Modules, AirLink Intelligent Gateways and Routers and AirVantage M2M Cloud platforms support IPv6.  Again, this is based on searching their website.

What I did discover is that Sierra Wireless also sells to Sprint, Deutsche Telekom, Accel Networks, Silver Spring Networks, ORBCOMM, Schneider Electric, ABB’s Distribution Automation, Atos Worldline, Pulse Energy, NSGDatacom, Panasonic Toughbook, Garmin, EDMI, Elster, Maestro Wireless Solutions, NetMotion Wireless, Track Star AVLS GPS Software Solution, Routeware and Fleeteyes. This one product impacts IPv6 support for mobility carriers, smart grid companies, automation systems, electronic payment systems and more.
I then went to the IPv6 Ready website (http://www.ipv6ready.org/) and find none of the above products listed. Then I proceeded to check National Instutute of Standards and Technology (NIST) web site for authorized IPv6 testing groups and discovered that neather  icsalabs[3] nor NH-IOL[4]  showed the above products supporting IPv6.

In short, AT&T Mobility blogged about it in 2006, and 7 years later they have not even ensured that the products they sell to their customers support IPv6. In addition Sierra Wireless, a company which provides products to many companies, also does not support IPv6.

So what is the impact to the consumer? Well first, if you are using AT&T on World IPv6 day, the products you have purchased are not supported and will require you to buy new products. Second, the businesses depending on AT&T mobility or the Sierra Wireless products should not expect support for IPv6 for some time.

If you are an integrator, inventor, innovator or business expecting to leverage IPv6 over the next few years, it appears that the above companies may not have the ability to deliver.

Lesson for carriers and companies developing network based products, it’s time to ensure you have a procurement policy requiring IPv6 on all products.

In short, if you want IPv6 on June 6, 2012, go elsewhere.

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