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The Year IPv6 Made it to Major League

Yves Poppe

May 6th 2007: ARIN board of trustees passes a resolution advising the Internet community that migration to a new version of the internet protocol, IPv6, will be necessary to allow continued growth of the internet.

June 29th 2007, Puerto Rico: ICANN Board resolution states that: The Board further resolves to work with the Regional Internet Registries and other stakeholders to promote education and outreach, with the goal of supporting the future growth of the Internet by encouraging the timely deployment of IPv6.

Oct 26th 2007 at the RIPE 55 meeting in Amsterdam: "Growth and innovation on the Internet depends on the continued availability of IP address space. The remaining pool of unallocated IPv4 address space is likely to be fully allocated within two to four years...the deployment of IPv6 is necessary for the development of future IP networks"

Nov 15th 2007: IGF meeting, Rio de Janeiro, chairman's report: "Panelists also discussed the eventual exhaustion of ICANN's reserve of unassigned IPv4 addresses."

It was made clear that this would not cause the Internet to fail, but this was used to indicate the importance of the effort to bring the IPv6 network on-line and the need for the full interoperability between the IPv4 and IPv6 networks.

This is but a small sample of the fast growing visibility IPv6 acquired this year, 2007.

The internet ecosystem, ranging from network Operator Groups (NOG) to peering forums to Regional Internet Registries (RIR) to ICANN, to IANA and even the United Nations sponsored Internet Governance Forum (IGF), had IPv6 quite high on its agenda this year. This rather sudden surge has taken at least some of us, amongst long term IPv6 proponents and advocates, by surprise, as it took close to a decade, lots of persistence, lots of convincing and periods of doubt, to get to this point. This is a period those involved in the early IPv6 experiments and deployment in the Research and Education Networks, the IPv6 Forum since its beginnings back in 1999, should savor and enjoy. Not to mention those who fathered RFC's, spent time at IETF and late nights on numerous mailing lists and never ending e-mail strings. 

IPv6 is finally breaking out of its cocoon of R&E networks; Government funded experiments, IPv6 Fora and Summits, some early adopters in the ISP community and is now on its way to become main stream. What changed in 2007 is the awakening and acceptance that we are really running out of IPv4 addresses and that further procrastination might be risky and detrimental after all. Like often in a timeline of events, change accumulated to create a discontinuity, resulting from the confluence of changing values for economical, technical and political variables. Needless to say, the moment of inertia to overcome with the present size and economical weight of a maturing internet was and remains considerable. 

A number of us have stated for some time that 2008 would be the tipping point for IPv6 followed by wide spread adoption starting around 2010 and prevalence by 2015. The probability to see this scenario materialize has never been higher.

Some have predicted that IPv6 space would be sufficient for 150 years but I would surmise a thirty year IPv6 reign is more likely. After all, this will have been about the time IPv4 sat on the throne. One caveat: predicting the future remains an error prone business, courtesy of non-linearity.

In the meantime, I wish you all a happy and prosperous IPv6 tipping 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.)

Related topics: DNS, ICANN, Internet Governance, Internet Protocol, IP Addressing, IPv6, Regional Registries

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Comments

Didn't happen ... did it? Peter Thimmesch  –  Nov 18, 2010 4:01 PM PST

Having read all of your amazingly well written and cogent arguments as to why "This is the Year for IPv6" I'm still struck by the most simple and real facts that surround why v6 may never be the dominant (it could but IMO, extremely unlikely) and they are;

1) v6 is an alternative network, not an extension of v4. Therefore they are incompatible.

2) No business reason for incumbents to transition. They have all spend enormous sums of money to create a competitive advantage, and now they are going to just give it up for the good of the Internet? Highly unlikely. Not a single ISP in the US is in reality transitioning to v6. (Do not claim Comcast, they have been allocated over 61 million v4 addresses since 2004.)

So Mr. Poppe, when are you going to start to consider a Plan B?

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