According to device requirements Verizon released earlier this year, any device that hooks onto the LTE network currently being built on the 700MHz band "shall support IPv6" and further states that "the device shall be assigned an IPv6 address whenever it attaches to the LTE network." The requirements make support for IPv4 optional and state that any device supporting IPv4 "shall be able to support simultaneous IPv6 and IPv4 sessions."
IPv6 is a long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, which is known as IPv4.
As CircleID blogger and Pennsylvania State University senior systems programmer Derek Morr notes, the adoption of IPv6 is going to be particularly important for wireless carriers that are expecting a surge in mobile data traffic in the next few years, as they will need a fresh batch of Internet addresses to handle the multitude of wireless devices that will hook onto their networks.
"The problem, of course, is that we're running out of IPv4 addresses," Morr writes. "The IANA pool will most likely be depleted by the end of 2010. This has led many people to wonder if LTE deployments will require IPv6. Now we have an answer: Yes."
Verizon is planning to launch its LTE services commercially in 25 to 30 U.S. markets in 2010. The network will be the first mobile broadband network in the United States to be based on the LTE standard, which is the latest variation of Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology that is used for 3G High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) networks. AT&T and T-Mobile have also announced plans to commercially launch LTE networks after 2010, while Sprint has already commercially launched its high-speed mobile WiMAX network.
One of the biggest drivers for carriers upgrading their mobile data networks to 4G technologies is the expected explosion in demand for mobile video services. A recent Cisco study on Internet traffic trends projects that 64% of mobile data traffic will be for video by 2013, vs. 19% for data services, 10% for peer-to-peer and 7% for audio. The study also says that the projected video traffic will increase four-fold between now and 2012.