Comments on CableLabs NAT444 Demo

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If you were not at this year’s National Cable Show, you missed some great exposure to IPv6 in the Windy City. At the Incognito booth was an overview and demonstration of Broadband Command Center 6.0. BCC 6 delivers all IPv6 related provisioning features for DOCSIS and PacketCable networks. IPv6 is clearly the front burner topic for our industry. A half-day IPv6 Summit preceded this year’s Cable Show. It featured a wide range of executives from the Internet community, technology companies, service providers, content providers and government. The topic remained live throughout the three-day show, including a Network Address Translation (NAT) 444 demonstration at the CableNET exhibit.

CableNET exhibition provides a common stand-up demonstration space within the larger show floor for about forty technology companies. Did you see our demo? We were there, featuring our Auto-Configuration Server (ACS) TR-069 support for the Broadband Forum CPE WAN Management Protocol.

CableLabs itself was showing three technologies: an Enhanced (E)TV Twitter application that leveraged EBIF on the front-end; synchronized advertising using ETV to link television video content with second-screen ads; and carrier-grade (CG)NAT, a transition technology helping operators maintain Internet IPv4 service while migrating to IPv6.

The demo of GCN or NAT444 focused on the technical shortcoming of dual NAT design. While CGN works well enough for basic Internet service, it poses challenges for advanced services or premium content. The CableLabs demo, which represented a non cable-specific implementation of NAT444, showed an error message on an Xbox indicating inconsistent service and an inability to start a Netflix movie on an Ipad or Ipod behind a double NAT.

The message is simple. IPv6 is preferred to shared IPv4. Any CGN design will have limitations that impact the nature of your user experience.

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