IPv6 New Year Predictions

How did my predictions for 2010 turn out and what might occur in 2011?

Last year I made some predictions for 2010. I commented that there were many "Easy Predictions" and those, for the most part, came true. Let's see how I did on my predictions for 2010 and try to predict what will happen in 2011. I also have some predictions for 2011 that are related to IPv6 adoption, as 2011 will be an important year for IPv6.

Easy Predictions

The "Easy Predictions" did come true. Green computing grew in importance as energy costs continued to rise. Data center and server consolidation continued and organizations started to move to unified computing systems. Many innovations for the data center were created (TRILL, FabricPath, PortLand) and we now see more converged enhanced Ethernet (data center bridging) deployments. We have witnessed more enterprises moving toward cloud services and SaaS offerings despite security considerations. Following are the status of the other 2010 predictions I made.

IPv4 Address Depletion

It was also easy to predict that IPv4 address depletion would occur. This event has been long anticipated and tracked by many experts who created mathematical models to predict the end of the global IPv4 address pools. The IPv4 Address Exhaustion Counters are now showing 2% remaining. There are only 7 /8-equivalent blocks left, 2 will be allocated to the regional registries next in line and the final 5 will instantly be assigned to the 5 regional registries. At that point the well will be dry and we will need to live off of the water in the bucket. However, no one ever claimed that the water at the bottom of the well was fit to drink.

CGN/LSN/NAT444 Usage

I must admit that I was premature with my prediction that we would see more "double-NATing" in 2010. Large ISPs have not yet deployed their CGN/LSN/NAT444 systems. It takes time for the IETF to create agreed-upon standards for these new technologies. It takes time for the vendors to develop viable solutions and it takes time for service providers to deploy those systems in a scalable and maintainable way. However, we can be certain that IPv4 application performance will degrade with the use of these systems. Maybe this will occur in 2011 and subscribers will start to notice the effects of NAT444. The "killer app" for IPv6 may in fact be better Internet performance than IPv4's multiple layers of NAT.

IPv6 Internet Traffic Growth

I predicted that IPv6 Internet traffic would triple. However, this is difficult to measure and is based on your point of measurement. I believe that this prediction came true when Google moved YouTube to IPv6 and many of the torrent systems started permitting IPv6 connections. There are a handful of sites that can give us a glimpse into the growth of IPv6 usage around the world.

Eric Vyncke's IPv6 Status Page

Comcast IPv6 Adoption Monitor

RIPE's IPv6 Ripeness report

Wikipedia IPv6 Deployment page

Hurricane Electric's Global IPv6 Deployment Progress Report

IPv6 Routing Table Growth

We have seen a growth in the IPv6 routing table in 2010. I predicted that the number of IPv6 Internet routes will increase to 3000. I got this one right as the current number of IPv6 prefixes are over 4000 and closing in on 5000 IPv6 Prefixes. There are now over 3000 Autonomous Systems that are announcing IPv6 prefixes.

IPv6 Training Will Become Popular

There has been a shortage of good-quality IPv6 training in North America and there are many who are hungry to learn about IPv6. However, Cisco has recently refined their IPv6 Fundamentals, Design and Deployment (IP6FD) and come out with version 3.0 of this training class. The fact that Cisco updated its class is an indication that Cisco anticipates that investment in IPv6 training will pay dividends. Cisco Authorized Training Partners are just now starting to get ramped up to start teaching this class so watch out for this class in the near future.

Another IPv6 training opportunity is the Rocky Mountain IPv6 Summit on April 25-27, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. This year will be this event's 4th year and it is going to be the largest IPv6 conference in North America in 2011. This is a cost-effective way to learn about IPv6 and gain solid technical information to aid you with your IPv6 deployment.

Microsoft Direct Access Deployment

The one prediction that I missed was the prediction that more organizations would be planning and deploying Microsoft DirectAccess. Because DirectAccess requires IPv6 Internet connectivity and that is not ubiquitous enough today to lead to wide deployment of DirectAccess. However, there is a good percentage of IPv6 traffic on the Internet that uses 6to4 and Teredo. You can read the story of the Galve Sweden Christmas Goat tradition and the web-cam traffic analysis.

Predictions for 2011

IPv4 Address Depletion Hysteria

At some point in 2011 IPv4 address depletion will be a story covered on the NBC Nightly News. People will start to ask questions like "why did anyone tell me about this?" and "who is to blame for this?". I, for one, don't believe that Vint Cerf is solely to blame for the situation we are in now. It is more fair to say that we (network engineers) are all to blame for the fact that we haven't been able to convince our organizations about the importance of IPv6 and make it relevant to our missions/business. The worry I have is that people will freak out and start to try to find creative ways to get more IPv4 addresses. IPv4 address blocks will be further divided and the Internet BGP routing tables will grow significantly. This will place even more burden on backbone routers and carriers will come up with equally creative ways to limit routing table size.

More IPv6 Services and IPv6-Reachable Content

It is easy to predict that more carriers will offer direct IPv6 services and more colocation and hosting companies will offer IPv6 services. Most of these services will be developed to help these companies stay competitive. We may see a changing of the guard when it comes to Tier 1 ISPs. If the service providers provide IPv6 services to the doorstep of the servers then we will see an increase in the amount of IPv6-enabled content on the Internet. This will when we will really see a dramatic rise in the IPv6 Internet traffic volumes.

IPv6 could have an effect on many markets. If a vendor adds IPv6 capabilities to their product or service and their competitors do not, then that forward-looking vendor may find itself in the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader's Quadrant. Because IPv6 will likely be deployed by many enterprises at the Internet perimeter first, perimeter devices are the first that will need IPv6 capabilities. IPv6 could shake up the application delivery switch market, firewalls, intrusion prevention, DNS, and IPAM markets.

I hope your 2011 is even better than 2010 was. There seems to be a significant growth in the IT sector. Gartner predicted that IT spending would rebound in 2010 and their prediction came true. It sure seems like there are more job postings and the volume of IT projects has increased over the previous 2 years. Hopefully this means that 2011 will be rewarding and prosperous for all of us.


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