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What Prevents IPv6 Deployment in Europe

Patrick Vande Walle

ZDNet UK has an article on IPv6 and what may slow down its deployment. Jay Daley, from Nominet points out to the fact that the current IPv6 allocation policy used by RIPE NCC is geared towards ISPs. This is a complaint I have heard time and time again. Under the current policy, you have to show to RIPE NCC that you are going to allocate 200 address blocks to your customers before you are allocated a /32 block.

Obviously, a large corporate network cannot afford to renumber every time it switches ISPs. It does have a substantial cost. A corporation would think twice before switching ISPs. This prevents competition. Neither can a corporation use multihoming with two or more ISPs in the current scenario, because an address block assigned to ISP A cannot be routed through ISP B. Again, this is hampering competition.

For those needing multihoming, which includes potentially every business whose operations on the Internet are critical, the current RIPE policy is clearly detrimental.

It is difficult to escape the feeling that this policy was set up by the ISPs in order to protect their business interests. Those ISPs form the vast majority of the RIPE NCC members and the majority of those attending RIPE meetings. Maybe larger end users could attend those meetings, too. However, most companies do not have the time or resources to send someone to such meetings.

A proposal by Jordi Palet Martinez, the well-known white knight of IPv6, aims at addressing this issue. It is still unclear at this stage if the proposal will go through. However the RIPE community will find it difficult to resist the pressure. ARIN, the American Regional registry is already assigning provider-independent /48 s to companies willing to "pay" for it.

I know it is quite blasphemous to talk about "paying" and "owning" IP address blocks in the RIR community. Yet, some companies have been using the same IPv4 address blocks for the last 20 years or so. They expect the same stability in the IPv6 world. They look at it as their property, in a way. I am even sure a lawyer could argue that what you have been using for 20 years, without anyone objecting, can reasonably be considered your property.

By Patrick Vande Walle, All around Internet governance troublemaker. More blog posts from Patrick Vande Walle can also be read here.

Related topics: IP Addressing, IPv6, Regional Registries


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Re: What Prevents IPv6 Deployment in Europe Jordi Palet Martinez  –  Jun 25, 2007 12:23 PM PDT

In my opinion this article is totally wrong.

I don't really believe the lack of IPv6 deployment it is really so directly connected to the availability of PI. Most of the content providers don't really need PI, because they can access to PA. I don't mean there are no cases that may be on that situation, but definitively not a show stopper for the majority.

It is also easy to see that in other regions where IPv6 PI is available (3 out of 5), the number of allocations for IPv6 PI is really ridiculous, even if it is really easy to obtain it.

In addition to that, there is a policy proposal to remove the 200 customers in RIPE NCC which I submitted around one year ago, and it is now in the last call. What it means basically is that big enterprises, which can be considered as an ISP towards their own organizations, will be able to get PA. No need for them for PI. This is for example the case for NATO, universities, etc. I hope that it will pass the last call (dead line July 2nd).

It is also not true that RIPE only submitted a proposal on PI on 22nd May. This proposal has been around for more than one year also, and I'm not able to progress too much, because there are not many inputs (in favor, against, or proposing changes) to move it forward.

Furthermore, is not up to RIPE to make a proposal, but the community, people like any of you, doing the same I did: Actually submitting the proposal. But this is not enough, we need inputs from the rest of the participants in order to make sure to get it thru the process.

In both cases, I mean for both policy proposals, what I will expect from the people interviewed by this journalist, or others interested in the deployment of IPv6, is being much more constructive and that means going to the policy-wg mailing list and either supporting (or not, or provide alternative inputs) the policy proposals. This is the way the community develop policies (PDP, Policy Development Process), it is not a function of the RIPE NCC to do so, but ourselves.

I hope that the article doesn't reflect what Jay and Tim said, as this is something that we often see when interviewed by journalists, but then I will call them for making sure that the journalist make a correction in the article, because it is plain wrong in many aspects (some of them facts, not just my opinion).

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