Hurricane Electric, a Fremont, Calif., ISP, will announce on Monday that its IPv6 network has doubled in size in less than a year -- a sign of how rapidly IPv6 traffic is increasing across the Internet.
IPv6 is the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, known as IPv4. IPv6 features vastly more address space, built-in security and enhancements for streaming media and peer-to-peer applications. All carriers and enterprises must run IPv6 when IPv4 addresses are depleted, which is expected in 2012.
Hurricane Electric claims to be the No. 1 IPv6 backbone in the world in terms of the number of IPv6 networks that it peers with and the number of IPv6 routes that it announces.
On Monday, Hurricane Electric will announce that it is the first network in the world to connect to over 600 IPv6 networks. This is twice as many IPv6-based interconnections as its closest rival, Hurricane Electric says.
Hurricane Electric offers native IPv6 connectivity, IPv6-enabled Web hosting and a free tunnel broker using the Teredo protocol that allows network managers to send IPv6 traffic over IPv4 pipes. The ISP also offers a free online program that allows network managers to certify their level of IPv6 knowledge.
Hurricane Electric's IPv6 connectivity has grown dramatically this year. In July, the ISP peered with 480 IPv6 networks. Next week's announcement that Hurricane Electric peers with 600 IPv6 networks represents a 25% increase in four months.
"This rapid growth uniquely positions Hurricane Electric's network to be able to provide the best native IPv6 connectivity to our business partners in strategic locations all over the world," said Martin Levy, Hurricane Electric's Director of IPv6 Strategy in a statement.
Hurricane Electric's role in pushing IPv6 traffic is being noticed across the Internet. Arbor Networks said in a blog post that Hurricane Electric's free tunnel broker introduced in April was one of the main reasons that global IPv6 traffic grew more than 1,400% from September 2008 to September 2009.
Craig Labovitz, chief scientist at Arbor Networks, wrote that the most important IPv6 traffic increase "came on April 21, 2009, with Hurricane Electric's turn up of a global anycast'ed Teredo relay service. Hurricane Electric enabled 14 Teredo relays in Seattle, Fremont, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Toronto, New York, Ashburn, Miami, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Hong Kong."
Labovitz said that "by all accounts, Hurricane Electric's Teredo service significantly improved the IPv6 goodput for the average Internet end user overnight."
IPv6 now represents 0.03% of all Internet traffic, according to Arbor Networks.