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IPv6: A 2012 Report Card

Yves Poppe

The Gogonet Live conference in San Jose witnessed outstanding presentations by several federal administrations including Veteran Affairs, NASA and SPAWAR, sharing their experience and progress towards IPv6 adoption. Furthermore, the NIST compliance report leaves no agency any place to hide. The report card is there for everybody to see. In spite of regular jabs and criticisms, the US Federal Government has done a remarkable job. As of late November, more than 450 federal government websites were accessible in IPv6. The USA is definitely number one in the Government category worldwide. Top of the class and by far!

Interestingly NIST also keeps tabs on IPv6 support for the .edu and .com domains. Contrary to the Federal Government, the education sector fails rather miserably and the enterprise sector looks outright dismal. Only three universities score in the three categories: DNS, website and e-mail IPv6 enabled. They are UCLA, Weber University in Utah and Garner Webb in NC while a number of major name Ivy Leaguers scored perfect zeros. In the .com category we see only one enterprise, Brocade, achieve a perfect three while amongst internet service providers, only two got the top mark: Comcast and Hurricane Electric. Kudos are in order for this rarefied group of .edu and .com high achievers. A majority of big names in the industry and amongst service providers, claiming to be on top of their IPv6 game, failed to make the mark. We'll see how they perform next year.

Another sieve to ferret out best performers, this time on the content side of the ecosystem, is the Alexa listing. The proportion of IPv6 enabled websites grew to 6 out of the top 10 since our summer column as the Chinese website QQ.com joined Google, Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo and Wikipedia, making it the first non US site to join ranks in the top 10. Failing grades however still go to Baidu, Windows Live, Twitter and Amazon. Next on the Alexa list we also find blogspot.com, google.in and google.de accessible in IPv6 while linkedin.com and msn.com fail to make the list. Not sure about your website? Try this little tool.

Cisco now also provides a set of visually pleasant country based rankings. Their content map based on the proportion of IPv6 accessible content shows the Czech Republic in top position while China and Japan stand out, rather surprisingly, as having amongst the worst scores overall.

Yet another angle to identify best performers is the access network perspective. Here, IPv6 preference per originating AS, as compiled by APNIC, continues to provide an excellent tool. Moving the Research and Education ASes which clog the top ranks to a separate category causes a clearer picture to emerge, showing the evolution of IPv6 adoption in the global ISP world, reaching out close to the fringes of the internet ecosystem.

This classification allows us to identify a cluster of four ISP's leading the pack: RDSnet of Romania, Proxad Free of France, KDDI Japan and Hurricane Electric in the States. A second cluster contains Savvis, Verizon Wireless, AT&T of the US, CTCX Chubu of Japan and XS4ALL of the Netherlands. The presence of Verizon Wireless in this cluster is yet another testament to the growing weight of LTE on IPv6 adoption.
Quite a number of big names in the global telco world have to wear the dunce cap however. They should be admonished to do better in the 2013 school year.

Here in Canada, both Government and telco's did rather poorly compared to our neighbours south of the border. Bell Canada, my home ISP, still doesn't provide me IPv6 access. Canadian IPv6 figures nevertheless show some uptake with Videotron clearly outperforming their telco rival while it is good to see Rogers AT&T wireless, my mobile supplier, showing some pulse.

A last approach to issuing good or bad IPv6 marks is global traffic. I hold this way of measuring dear as it influences my bonus. Traffic statistics from the major internet exchanges provide a good overall perspective while tools such as Renesys and Arbor provide excellent AS centered data. While IPv6 preference, reaching 1% on the Google scale and global IPv6 traffic on major global networks such as AS6453 also inching up towards 1%, might not seem much, it is nevertheless a major milestone compared to where we were just a year ago when even forecasting one percent IPv6 traffic was considered a leap of faith. The IPv6 component of overall IPv4 plus IPv6 traffic, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of total IP traffic is trending well while the good old IPv4 traffic also continues to grow very nicely indeed, enjoying a late season bloom.

IPv6 doubling to 2% by end in 2013? You bet. Quadrupling to 4%? Not to be ruled out.

Any surprises in store for 2013? Absolutely.

Happy holidays

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.)

Related topics: IPv6, Networks


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comcast? Dean Durant  –  Apr 03, 2013 7:42 AM PDT

Does anyone who has Comcast have native IPv6 now?  I decided to switch to Comcast from a lesser known cable co just for IPv6 and they never delivered.  They think it's a big deal that someone at CircleID mentioned them.  That's how I got here.  But the mention of them in particular is only in passing I would say.  I ended up feeling that Comcast pulled kind of a bait and switch, in that once they had me as a subscriber, they kept trying to sell me TV and other things, higher broadband speeds, and their tech support people mostly never heard of IPv6.  This is in Michigan, a state poorly served by all broadband providers when it comes to Ipv6, IMHO.

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