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Hong Kong, South Korea lag in IPv6 adoption

Both technologically-advanced nations are slower in migrating to the new Web protocol than countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, and this might impact their competitiveness.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Asia's emerging markets are leading mature markets such as Hong Kong and South Korea in IPv6 adoption as these countries have faster growing mobile broadband populations and a smaller pool of IPv4 resources. The mature markets' slow uptake could hamper competitiveness in the long run, according to the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).

According to a recent study by APNIC, the estimated IPv6 users in Hong Kong and South Korea as a percentage of the overall Internet population are 0.02 percent and 0.01 percent, respectively.

Comparatively, the study showed Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia had higher IPv6 penetration than the two developed markets. Thailand had 0.16 percent of IPv6 users, Malaysia and Sri Lanka both had 0.13 percent, while Indonesia had 0.10 percent, the study revealed.

The top 5 Asian markets in IPv6 adoption were Japan, which came in tops at 2.4 percent, followed by China at 0.67 percent. Australia had 0.42 percent, while Taiwan had 0.19 percent and Singapore 0.17 percent.

In a phone interview with ZDNet Asia Wednesday, Paul Wilson, the director general of APNIC, explained the number of Internet users is growing faster in emerging markets than mature ones such as Hong Kong and South Korea.

This growth, driven by rising mobile broadband subscribers, means more new IP addresses are needed and increases the adoption of IPv6 address, Wilson said, adding this need to adopt IPv6 is not so pronounced in established markets.

However, since Asia has ran out of IPv4 addresses, the executive noted even mature markets that still have available IPv4 resources need to prepare for the inevitable migration to the newer Web protocol for competitive reasons.

With most companies more dependent on the Internet these days, businesses that do not plan ahead for IPv6 migration could risk losing existing customers who are already using the newer IP (Internet Protocol). Being prepared includes looking to procure IPv6-compatible software, hardware and networking gear, or companies may risk paying more to cross over in the future, Wilson warned.

Enterprises lack IPv6 experts
Asked if IPv6 still has security issues to iron out, Wilson said the protocol provides more security capabilities than its predecessor.

However, like other new technologies, mistakes caused by human error are likely when deploying IPv6 and this may lead to security concerns, he said.

This challenge is not helped by the general lack of IPv6-skilled professionals in the market, which is a major challenge for organizations looking to migrate. Those that do also have to put in more effort to retain and train their staff in this competitive recruitment climate, he added.

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