No longer is IPv6 adoption “around the corner” it has arrived … with a whimper.
Mar 30, 2014

One of the areas that I get asked about on occassion has to do with IP addressing, specifically whether or not to use IPV6 addressing in production. Most of the networks that I work with do not actively use IPV6, and as a result, do not have an IPV6 management plan, or a set of policies and procedures in place to deal with the implementation of an IPV6 based addressing scheme. Given the metrics discussed below, it seems as if more and more individuals are beginning to start to use IPV6. The challenge at the end of the road is what that will mean for companies over the next 12 – 36 months as they confront the increasing usage of IPV6 to access corporate data and to interact with it. Will they have a plan and a strategy in place ahead of the wave? Hard to say for sure, but the writing is on the wall as they say, the smart money is on those that pay attention and read the graffiti.

In the second half of 2013 many of the metrics used to track IPv6 adoption doubled. This is in large part due to increased adoption by residential broadband networks in the U.S. and Germany. Over the course of any given week, there are now more than 600 million unique IPv6 addresses per week being registered, as opposed to 200 to 300 million in June 2013. Over 20 billion IPv6 requests per day are being served, double the 10 billion per day delivered at the beginning of 2013.

Since IPv6 adoption has been viewed as being “around the corner” for years now, even many people and companies involved in running Internet infrastructure are making the assumption that IPv6 adoption is still a ways off. The accelerating growth of IPv6 makes this a dangerous assumption, as adoption has rapidly picked up in some important areas.

IT organizations, content providers, networks, and software vendors without an active IPv6 rollout program may find themselves caught unprepared for explosive growth, in a situation where significant markets may have double-digit percentages of IPv6 connectivity by late 2014.

As of mid-December 2013, more than 5% of the requests to dual-stacked sites were delivered over IPv6 to users in the U.S., Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Peru, Romania, and Switzerland. If we exclude devices and browsers that do not support IPv6, we get a better perspective of IPv6 penetration into networks and see all of these numbers rise to include more than 11% of requests.

IPv6 by geography

With major carriers actively rolling out IPv6 across their networks, the U.S. and Germany have taken the lead in IPv6 traffic volume. The percentage of IPv6 requests to dual-stacked sites in the U.S. has risen 32 times in two years, from a meager 0.2% in November 2011 to 6.4% in December 2013. Looking at select devices and clients more likely to use IPv6 when available, the number was 11% in December 2013.

Germany, Peru, and Luxembourg also saw IPv6 as a percentage of requests to dual-stacked sites double to more than 5% in the six months from June to December 2013. Some of the largest networks in some of the world’s largest economies are actively in the process of rolling out IPv6 to their subscriber bases this year. IPv6 is no longer just for universities and research labs.

Companies without a plan to make their content available over IPv6 and networks without plans to roll IPv6 out to their end users may be caught off guard soon if IPv6 growth continues at its current rate. It is only a matter of time before some networks look to deploy IPv6-only connectivity as a cost-saving and simplification measure.


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