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IPv6… the Year NAT-Enforced IPv4 Dam Showed Seepage

Yves Poppe

We don't give enough credit to people who will sacrifice themselves trying to plug the IPv4 dam with some NAT-putty. They even dream of a NAT66 filled afterlife. The growing IPv6 traffic trickle was given evidence at the recent RIPE 57 meeting in Dubai in a number of presentations, including a most edifying Google presentation (see Global IPv6 statistics by Lorenzo Colliti, and the related CircleID post). Noteworthy to see France with a 0.65% IPv6 penetration, largely courtesy of free.fr, a major ISP offering an extremely successful triple play service based on their customer premise freebox which they decided to also IPv6 enable. And, oh yes, 95% of French IPv6 traffic is native. In the meantime it felt good to see the US and Canada doing quite well with a 0.45% penetration. Major difference with France is that here in North America 95% of the traffic was 6to4. Most likely the popularity of Mac's and the Airport Extreme has something to do with it. When ranked by operating system, Mac OS leads in IPv6 penetration with 2.44% followed by Linux and Vista while XP and Windows 2000 are negligible.

The rather modest showing of IPv6 powerhouse Japan with only 0.15% IPv6 penetration was rather surprising and warrants some further analysis. The other real surprise was to see Russia claiming the overall number one ranking with 0.76% penetration!

Besides access and OS support, the third variable in the equation is the IPv6 routing between ISP's and their respective Autonomous System Numbers. There was a lot of speculation about the "brokenness" of IPv6. Google measurements show 0.09% of clients lost and 150ms extra latency; some way to go but not that bad and improving. Major tier1 ISP's including AS6453 are dual stack and peer with each other in both IPv4 and IPv6; we also see a growing number of IP transit customers upgrading their connections to dual stack.

When the fourth variable, IPv6 accessible content, will be in place the dam burst will come tantalizingly closer. IPv6 accessible websites and e-mail are not commonplace yet but slowly growing. And interesting phenomena happen to CDN's when issuing AAAA addresses to content: immediate increases in IPv6 traffic are visible!

2009 will see the seeping become leaking, 2010 will witness the first serious cracks, 2011 will see the dam buckle, 2012…

In the meantime I wish you all a happy and IPv6 filled New Year.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these articles are solely those of the author and are not in any way attributable to nor reflect any existing or planned official policy or position of his employer in respect thereto.

By Yves Poppe, Director, Business Development IP Strategy at Tata Communications – (Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these articles are solely those of the author and are not in any way attributable to nor reflect any existing or planned official policy or position of his employer in respect thereto.) Visit Page
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