Are we really ready for IPv6?

Are we really ready for IPv6?

Summary: No. According to a recent survey by the Internet's Number Resource Organization, approximately 84% of respondents already have IPv6 addresses or are considering getting them. Excuse me if I don't buy those numbers.


I would love to believe the Number Resource Organization (NRO), the group that oversees the allocation of all Internet numeric resources, claim that 84% of ISPs and other major Internet groups are now using, or are about to use IPv6. But, I don't.

Mind you, 84% of serious corporate Internet users should be at that point. We're quickly running out of IPv4 addresses. Let me check right now. Yep, according to the IPv4 Address Report, we're still on schedule to run out of all IPv4 Internet addresses on January 14, 2012.

I actually expect us to run out faster than that though. I strongly suspect speculators are already snatching IP addresses up the same way they did potentially popular domain names and for the same reason: to make money from selling them off in a seller's market. In fact, I just noticed that in the week since I last checked the Internet IPv4's drop-dead date, it's already moved up from January 25th 2012. The buy-outs are already happening.

I don't buy the most optimistic view of the IPv6 Deployment Survey (PDF Link) for several reasons. First, it's a global, self-selected survey of the people and groups who work closely with regional Internet registries (RIRs) the group that issues Internet addresses to ISPs. In short, they're the people who are closest to the coming Internet address famine. If they don't get it, no one does.

My other problem is that I've looked closely at the survey's results. They're not as rosy as they might first appear. Almost half of those surveyed reported that their biggest problem with IPv6 deployment is a lack of user demand while over 40% reported that they actually have any experience with putting IPv6 to work.

This sounds like a lot of groups and people have good intentions about using IPv6, but have actually done very little with it. This is not good. We all know that good intentions are what the road to hell is made from right?

I also couldn't help noticing that the vast majority of those who said that they're using IPv6 are doing so with dual IPv4/IPv6 stacks. That's fair enough. It's how I expect almost everyone will deploy IPv6 until we're in the 2020s. But, at the same time, these same users report that they're using address translation technologies like NAT (Network Address Translation) for their IPv6. Ah... I don't think so.

This suggests to me that even this 'expert' group is a little unclear of what they're doing. You can use NAT for IPv6, but I don't know anyone who knows it well who recommends it. Its one advantage is that it's simple to deploy. This technology, NAT-PT (Network Address Translator-Protocol Translator), simply doesn't work that well in practice.

I like to think of NAT-PT as trying to use a band-aid for a severed leg. Sure, it's quick to put on, but there's a host of problems that comes with it. These include trouble with timeouts, keep-alives, and DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) incompatibilities. Oh, and did I mention headaches with authentication and encryption? NAT-PT, and other attempts to paste IPv4's NAT approach on top of IPv6, are destined for failure.

Finally, the survey reported, not to any surprise of mine, that end-users and customers still aren't using IPv6. I know businesses. Without a pressing reason staring them in the face, company executives aren't going to invest in IPv6. The day is coming when they are going to have to see that they'll need to address this Internet issue, but what I picked up from this survey is that even those who are living next door to the problem are still giving it more lip-service than real study and work.

Darn it.

Topics: Telcos, Browser, Networking

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  • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

    I'm ready for it, but then again I'm just the home user with nothing to lose. Now my work place is an entirely different story. I want IPv6 because maybe we can get some static IPs out of it.

    You did touch on some interesting points but one of the reasons for people not switching is that some of the web servers aren't supporting it. So if you try to go all IPv6 you may not get to some of your favorite websites. I don't know if that is still true or not. Otherwise, bring it on.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

      me too i'm ready ! <a href="">Posizionamento siti web</a>
  • There is no way

    that survey is even close to reality. It's incredibly rare for a company to be using IPv6 on their public network. I have been rolling it out on the intranet for a while now and it works fine. I'm looking forward to the change because of the work it will drive, but like with most things, people won't switch until they have no other choice. Which means if a company currently has half a class C of public addresses and it's all they'll need for the foreseeable future they won't change.
  • What's the carrot?

    I'm definitely no expert but the benefit I've heard for IPv6 is security. I also "understand" that your IP address is expossed end-to-end and security is just IPSec, which is available anyway... nothing new.

    What's the huge benefit?
    • The number of available addresses


      IPSec is mandatory, so while it's nothing new all traffic is encrypted on IPv6. Which is a huge plus. Additionally there are an insane number of addresses. It's something like 10k+ addresses for every square meter on the surface of the planet. I know the entire IPv4 range can fit in a single v6 class C.
      • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

        @LiquidLearner IPsec is mandatory in the stack, it is not mandatory for all data to be encrypted. i.e. It is a mandatory option. :-)

        As far as number of address per square meter on the planet, you were a little off. :-) It is approximately:
        6.67 * 10^27
      • Or, an IPv6 address for every cubic meter in our galaxy. It would be sad if

    • the benefit...

      @just1opinion now every flake of dust in every home on the planet can have it's own world routable address.

      who benefits from that? nosy control freak-types come to my mind.
  • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

    Perhaps, at least for a wile, the "cloud" use IPV6 only network, wile the end users/corporate nets still use IPv4. Use IPv4-over-IPv6 tunnel to create link to the border routers/modems. This will ease transition and give a seemless view to end users.
  • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

    The problem is so many look at the IP address space instead of the capabilities that can either decrease costs or improve services (especially ones that can be billable)....the problem of course is a pure IPv6 environment.
  • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

    Hi Steven<br><br>I agree with you that we're probably not ready for IPv6 but that just means that we are ignoring what are known to be the growth areas of worldwide Internet usage - think LTE 4G mobile phone users in new markets such as India and China for which there will no option BUT IPv6.<br><br>I don't believe that these emerging new markets can be ignored if you value survival and growth.<br><br>BTW, for those IPv4 web site owners that are really not ready there are some clever short cuts to getting ready such as Instant6.
  • It is like digital tv ....

    There will be no "demand" till the old is no longer available and their systems don't work.
    ..... then watch the scramble.
  • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

    I'm the NetAdmin for a small rural ISP. We are NOT ready. Most of the other NetAdmins I know say they too are NOT ready. Even a number of big ISPs are NOT ready.

    Migration for an ISP to IPv6 is no easy matter. By law, we must provide the physical address of any client-user who uses their internet service to break the law. The police come to us with a search warrant and an IP address and ask us who it belongs to. With IPv4 and home router/modems that NAT, we simply look at which modem owned that IPv4 address at that time, look up the physical address for that modem, and pass it to the police. We don't know the exact host, but at least we know where to find it.

    To properly implement IPv6, every device in the world, whether it is behind a router or not, is suppose to have a unique IPv6 address. How do we assign these addresses, while tying them to a physical address? Auto-configuration is definitely not the way, so we'll use that old stand-by, DHCP. So we configure each home router/modem to use DHCP. We'll limit the home users to something like 253 possible hosts. That's 8-bits. We'll say we add maybe 16 bits to be used for the client-ID so we, the NetAdmins, can figure out where said host resides. That's 24-bits. That means we need an IPv6 /104 address space. Any idea how much that costs? Let me give you an idea. An IPv4 /22 address space and an IPv6 /118 address space, both which provide 1024 addresses, cost the same from ARIN. This is one of the biggest problems facing adoption. IPv6 costs ISPs too much. Profit margins for ISPs are not large.

    So to keep costs down, ISPs would be inclined to use NAT-PT on IPv6. As mentioned, this is not a solution.

    To make matters worse, IPv4 and IPv6 address blocks are separate purchases. That is, if you buy an IPv4 address block, you don't automatically get an IPv6 address block to correspond to it. You must buy each separately. That doubles the cost of IP addresses. Why would an ISP do that if they don't absolutely need to? Profit margins are too tight in a highly competitive market to make these expenses worthwhile until absolutely necessary.

    I and my team have spent over 2 years now trying to come up with a plan to move to IPv6 without crashing the network. We still don't have a viable plan. Beyond the expenses, there are still to many identified problems with the switch over. You'd think it would be easy, but it's not.

    And as for that survey, no one asked anyone at my company. I'd take it with a box of salt.
  • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

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  • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

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  • RE: Are we really ready for IPv6?

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