IPv6 hits NZ internet backbone

The next-generation Internet Protocol, IPv6, has been much discussed but long in coming around the world.
Written by Juha Saarinen, Contributor

(Credit: Intec NetCore,

The next-generation Internet Protocol, IPv6, has been much discussed but long in coming around the world. I've been playing around with it on Linux and FreeBSD, as well as Windows, but having to use tunnel brokers overseas has put some brakes on my IPv6 experience.

This looks set to change now that FX Networks, a national backbone provider, has announced that its network is natively running IPv6 in parallel with IPv4. With IPv4 address space predicted to run out next year, New Zealand is sailing rather close to the wind on deploying IPv6.

FX Networks general manager of sales, Jamie Baddeley, says that new areas of the internet in rapidly developing countries like China will be accessible via IPv6 only. Obviously, New Zealand businesses need to be able to communicate with the IPv6 internet as well as the IPv4 addressable one, so it's good to see that FX Networks has taken the initiative. New Zealand has IPv6 IXes in Auckland and Wellington already.

Other than FX Networks, it looks like much of the New Zealand internet isn't exactly in a hurry to migrate to IPv6. This IPv6 deployment status page seems a bit out of date, but we haven't heard anything from the other major providers on their moves to the new protocol.

Perhaps they have enough IPv4 addresses and expect customers to rely on Network Address Translation (NAT)? Likewise, government sites seem firmly IPv4 only, although our academic network of sorts, KAREN, was IPv6 right from the start. I'd be interested to know what for instance the Ministries of Economic Development and the Research, Science and Technology are doing in this area — presumably, our government is already there?

The national IPv6 steering group is organising a Hui in August to highlight the need for organisations that connect to the internet to start planning the adoption of IPv6, but I fear the issue will end up in the "too hard" basket for many. If you're reading this and thinking about IPv6, now's the time to get cracking: IPv4 addresses will be rare and expensive soon. Besides, IPv6 brings other benefits than just huge address space, so it's worth the short-term pain to deal with the increased complexity.

Must poke my ISPs about going IPv6 actually, so that I can run it natively from my little corner of the internet.

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