The IPv6 Internet is Growing

Evidence that IPv6 Internet Traffic is Increasing

Recently I have noticed some concrete evidence that the IPv6 Internet is growing. Reports that document IPv6 Internet traffic volumes show that the amount of IPv6 traffic is increasing. The IPv6 default-free zone BGP routing table has doubled in size in a year. The number of organizations being allocated IPv6 address blocks is increasing. Even though IPv6 Internet traffic volumes are still very small compared to IPv4; all these facts point to an upward trend in IPv6 usage.

Last year Arbor Networks published a report that gave a dismal view of theminiscule amount of IPv6 Internet traffic. Many IPv6 proponents felt that the Arbor Networks report didn't accurately measure IPv6 Internet usage because of how the data was captured and where it was captured from. My feelings are that Arbor Networks has a great reputation and their research is comprehensive. However, depending on what knot-hole you look at the Internet through you might see more or less IPv6 traffic. Recently, Arbor Networks released an article on the growth of global IPv6 Internet traffic that shows that the amount of IPv6 Internet traffic has increased. This article points out that uTorrent version 1.8 and Hurricane Electric deploying 6to4 and Teredo relays helped to increase the amount of IPv6 traffic.

The IPv6 Internet has been growing over the past few years. Even a year ago a Number Resource Organization (NRO) study published at the end of last year showed that the IPv6 Internet grew by over 300% in 2 years.

During recent deployments of IPv6 I have seen that the IPv6 Internet routing table contains ~2000 routes. It seems that only a year ago, it only contained about 1000 routes. 2000 routes may not sound like a lot but it is considering that IPv6 addresses are hierarchical in nature. Therefore, a single /32 block advertized from a service provider may actually represent many customers connected to the IPv6 Internet. Below is the output of a router that has two EBGP peers and they are shown as advertizing about 2000 IPv6 backbone routes each.

Router#sh bgp ipv6 unicast summary BGP router identifier 192.168.XXX.XXX, local AS number XXXXX BGP table version is 20219, main routing table version 20219 2085 network entries using 310665 bytes of memory 3984 path entries using 302784 bytes of memory 140197/1665 BGP path/bestpath attribute entries using 17384428 bytes of memory 77477 BGP AS-PATH entries using 2017210 bytes of memory 5817 BGP community entries using 473700 bytes of memory 0 BGP route-map cache entries using 0 bytes of memory 0 BGP filter-list cache entries using 0 bytes of memory BGP using 20488787 total bytes of memory BGP activity 471232/178690 prefixes, 2257360/1495983 paths, scan interval 60 secs

Neighbor V AS MsgRcvd MsgSent TblVer InQ OutQ Up/Down State/PfxRcd 2001:XXXX:XXXX:XXXX::1 4 XXXX 2332 241 20219 0 0 03:56:16 2025 2001:YYYY:YYYY:YYYY::2 4 XXXX 30695 17035 20219 0 0 1w4d 1958 Router#

Hurricane Electric has a "Global IPv6 Deployment Progress Report" that shows some statistics on what domains are using IPv6 and what networks and nameservers are using IPv6. Hurricane Electric recently sent out an e-mail blast that described the growth of the IPv6 Internet. "The global IPv6 routing table has passed 2000 IPv6 prefixes. There are now over 1500 IPv6 glue records in the TLD zone files. The addition of IPv6 glue records at the TLD level is a good gauge of hosting infrastructure IPv6 growth, since it indicates operational commitment on the part of individual nameserver operators."

As shown in this information, IPv6 adoption can be gauged by the IPv6 capabilities of those sites listed in Alexa's top 1000 sites. Along these lines there was a recent article posted by Gerald Combs Combs titled "Does IPv6 Adoption Depend on Akamai?" that discussed this issue.

Even with the increasing "buzz" of IPv6 I still run into folks who are resistant to the change. Some even claim that there is no ROI for IPv6. They are in the denial stage of Tony Hain's "Seven Stages of Grief of IPv6 Acceptance". If you are not sure about the future of IPv6 I encourage you to listen to Internet pioneers like Vint Cert who are trying to let us know about the fact that IPv4 addresses are running out. I have heard John Curran say something to the effect of "How about this for a ROI for IPv6, you won't be able to continue to do business with IPv4. Either you want to stay in business or you don't."

In some ways, the end of the IPv4 Internet has been overly exaggerated. Even though the IPv4 free pool is drawing down the Internet will not stop functioning on that day. If you have an iPhone you can download the "IPv4 Deathwatch application for iPhone" to help you pass the time. This application is also available on other mobile phones as well.

I encourage you all to start to learn more about IPv6 and start to plan your migration to IPv6. One way to keep tabs on IPv6 is to check out the special page that NetworkWorld has created that consolidates all the recent news regarding IPv6 into one place.

As more people transition to IPv6 a "critical mass" will form and the transition speed will accelerate. You don't want to be the last person to transition.


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