Emile Aben

2009 - The year before IPv6 took off?

Emile Aben
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We've done some measurements that show encouraging results.


You probably heard it before: "This year is going to be the year IPv6 takes off". You probably won't hear it that much more, because with the imminent IPv4 address space exhaustion either IPv6 needs to be deployed, we figure out something else, or we'll face stagnation of growth of the Internet. There isn't too much time to figure out something else so that bodes well for IPv6 deployment. And fortunately there are some encouraging signs of progress.

In 2008 Geoff Huston presented a nice overview on IPv6 deployment measurements. One of his findings was that both RIPE NCC and APNIC websites received about 0.4% of its traffic over IPv6. Using the same methodology (Geoff Huston and George Michaelson kindly provided their scripts) we took a look at www.ripe.net for 2009 and we see a nice steady growth from about 0.7% in January to about 1.1% in December. We excluded traffic from the RIPE NCC networks, which would have skewed these numbers in favor of IPv6.

Figure 1: Percentage of clients to www.ripe.net using IPv6
And there are some other encouraging signs that IPv6 deployment is picking up as well. First, www.ripe.net is not the only site that reports around 1% of clients on IPv6 after a steady growth in 2009. The Internet Storm Center very recently reported 1.3% of clients on IPv6, up from 0.5% last year (so it's not only people using the ripe.net website as a "what-is-my-IP"-service testing their newly configured IPv6 network). Another encouraging sign was the fact that when we introduced our REX tool at RIPE59 almost 50% of queries to the tool was over IPv6, showing that if you provide an IPv6 network, like the network available to RIPE59 meeting participants, people will use it.

Figure 2: The what-is-my-IP service on www.ripe.net

I'll end with the most encouraging sign, which is RIPE Labs itself. Over the last couple of weeks we've been at a steady 5% of clients, and 10% of queries using IPv6, again excluding traffic from the RIPE NCC networks. I think this indicates we have a user base that is generally ahead of the curve and at the same time shows that there are already pockets of the Internet where IPv6 deployment can't be ignored. We may even reach the ambitious 25% of IPv6 usage in 2010 goal the European Commision strives for, albeit very locally!
We are currently prototyping new IPv6 deployment measurements, so stay tuned!

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About the author

Emile Aben Based in Amsterdam, NL

I'm a system architect/research coordinator at the RIPE NCC, where I work in the science group. I'm a chemist by training, but have been working since 1998 on Internet related things, as a sysadmin, security consultant, web developer and researcher. I am interested in technology changes (like IPv6 deployment), Internet measurement, data analysis, data visualisation, sustainability and security. I'd like to bring research and operations closer together, ie. do research that is operationally relevant. When I'm not working I like to make music (electric guitar, bass and drums), do sports (swimming, (inline) skating, bouldering, soccer), and try to be a good parent.

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