Asia sees uneven IPv6 adoption

China and Japan leading region in migrating to new protocol while India and South Korea lagging behind, with user mentality and service availability main reasons for slow uptake, observers note.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Asia is seeing staggered adoption rates for IPv6 across the region due to various reasons ranging from lack of government and user buy-in as well as Internet service providers (ISPs) reluctance to provision the service to users, observers note.

According to Rajnesh Singh, regional director for Internet Society's Asia-Pacific bureau, the region has previously been leading in terms of IPv6 testbed and research activities as it realizes the need to embrace the new protocol due to its large population base and thus potential commercial opportunities.

Actual adoption, however, has been more piecemeal, he noted, adding that Singapore's and Malaysia's governments have been notable in their commitment to enable IPv6 in their internal networks within a specific timeline. The countries' private sector has also been looking into migrating as demand for training in this area has increased, alongside the rise in service providers offering such services, he added.

China and Japan are the countries embracing IPv6 adoption more readily than other countries in the region though, pointed out Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia. The former's demand for the new protocol is spurred by the country's rapid growth in its tech industry, while Japan's IT-savvy citizens have driven its migration efforts, he elaborated.

User support, availability lacking
By contrast, the slower uptake seen in India and South Korea is "surprising", he said. India, in particular, should have shown more enthusiasm in taking up IPv6 given its population size and growth of its tech industry, the CEO added.

South Korea's situation is clearer as its early drive for IPv4 and high penetration achieved had "dampened motivations" to cutover to the newer protocol, Chung explained.

Bruno Goveas, Asia-Pacific head of products at Akamai Technologies, remarked that end-users satisfaction and comfort level with the existing Internet protocol meant that convincing them to migrate would be a challenge.

"At the end of the day, the user simply wants access to the Internet and IPv4 provides that," he said. "There is no push to adopt IPv6 due to the lack of awareness of its benefits."

Singh added that many of Asia's Internet service providers have not got on the IPv6 bandwagon and there is little commercial availability for IPv6 for their general user base. Some ISPs have said they are able to provision the new protocol on request, but others are still working on offering such a service, he said.

IPv6 World Launch could make a difference
Ultimately, the Internet Society regional director reiterated that IPv6 will be critical for business continuity for all sectors, including governments, private organizations, financial institutions, healthcare providers and even home users.

It is the only way in which networks can scale in the future and improve its performance, he stated.

To this end, Singh believes the World IPv6 Launch, which is slated to happen on Jun. 6, will help boost adoption. He said major global content and service providers will permanently turn on the new protocol for their products and services, with participants including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing.

Goveas added that a "gradual" adoption will be seen with IPv6 should this event prove successful. "Things will slowly improve, triggering content providers to put more content on IPv6 and generating awareness of the service's benefits among users," he said.

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