Where Does the World Stand with IPv6

After IPv6 Day on June 6, Akamai, a Web high-performance company, released statistics to see how IPv6 Day publicity affected the overall use of this protocol. This blog details the findings, and highlights that the adoption increased by 460 times since 2011’s World IPv6 Day. However the percentage adoption rate for this 14 year-old protocol is still fairly low and surprisingly low in different Asian countries, particularly India and South Korea.

Google continually collects statistics about IPv6 connectivity among Google users. You can view it by overall conversation rate and by country. IPv6 usage by end users is a lot lower by percent in Asia than in Europe and the U.S., a finding which is correlated by a recent humorous article by RIPE Labs (the European regional IP registrar) comparing IPv6 adoption to the results of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Initially, one of the major assumptions about IPv6 was that conversion to this protocol would be incredibly aggressive in Asian and South Pacific countries due to the scarcity of new IPv4 addresses in this region, but this does not seem to be the case. Why?

Why is IPv6 Lagging in Asia?
There are several speculations as to why IPv6 conversion seems to be stagnant in Asia. Ellyne Phneah of ZDnet provided some insight into why certain regions in Asia may be lagging, including end-users satisfaction and comfort level with the existing Internet protocol – convincing users to make the move might be a challenge – as well as service providers not including IPv6, and general lack of commercial availability for IPv6.

Several countries are making more of a push for IPv6 as Phneah notes in her piece, including Malaysia and Singapore, whose governments have been notable in their commitment to enable IPv6 in their internal networks. Additionally China and Japan are also embracing IPv6.

Why is the World Lagging in General for the Transfer?
In the U.S, while IPv6 is being rolled out by several major broadband providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable, there is still little apparent demand. As with Asia, lack of interest among enterprise customers leads to little or no incentive for carriers to make the switch, which cascades into limited availability for other customers.

Remember, IPv4 touches every level of the Internet, from Tier 1 carriers down to individual desktops, which means a lot of effort is required by different organizations and vendors from network monitoring and management, mobile network operators, consumer routers, etc. to overcome the inertia of IPv4 and move the world to IPv6.

Fortunately, most end-user computers are ready for the switch. Windows, Linux, and OSX have good IPv6 support as soon as the networks are ready. While that support keeps improving (Microsoft Windows 8 will have a stronger preference for IPv6 than previous versions)  we still have a long way to go.

Who is Making the Switch to IPv6?
While the percentage numbers may look bad, the data behind those numbers is more promising. By using the graphing tool from RIPE Labs on IPv6 network announcements, it’s clear that APNIC – the Asia-Pacific region – is leading the globe in terms of percent of IPv6-ready networks at 18%, versus 11% in ARIN, the North American region. However, the raw numbers show that APNIC is announcing 954 IPv6 networks, which is smaller than ARIN’s 1687.

Similarly, while China and South Korea appear to be lagging in terms of end-user adoption, the APNIC Labs project to measure end-user adoption shows that they are nearly tied for first place in terms of total number of IPv6 users measured over the last 3 months, at over 550,000 users each, nearly double the third-place Thailand at 300,000 users. (The U.S. had just under 200,000).

All IPv6 numbers have risen over time, which is expected, especially since RIPE hit exhaustion on September 14, less than 2 weeks ago. ARIN also implemented phase 2 of their exhaustion plan on September 18, after they reached only 3 /8 blocks remaining.

How Can You Bring IPv6 into Your Office or Home?
The first factor is cost. The cost of an IPv4 address has risen, and with IPv6 being the “future” of Internet, there is an incentive to progress as opposed to regress into older technology.

As we’ve indicated before, even if the end of IPv4 is not immediately upon us, it is inevitable and as with any technology it is always better to prepare your network for testing before it’s too late. If you have not upgraded, due to an equipment vendor or another tool you are using, demand that they add or create a product that is IPv6 compatible.

If it is more a means of trying to combat some of the issues that come up, and they do come up, check out how you can solve common IPv6 problems in this blog.

One thought on “Where Does the World Stand with IPv6

  1. network management

    If ipv6 is expensive and some of the companies are having a hard time purchasing it to be use in their system, then the bigger problem lies on the budget of the company. Although ipv6 is very promising, if the company cannot afford it, it will not be feasible.

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