Ulka Athale


Ulka Athale
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The RIPE NCC is marking the sixth anniversary of the World IPv6 Launch with RIPE NCC::Educa IPv6 Day, an all-day webinar on the state of IPv6 and its future. Here is a quick overview of where IPv6 currently stands from the RIPE NCC perspective.

On 6 June, it’ll be six years since the worldwide launch of IPv6. In that time, many have made the leap from the rapidly evaporating pool of IPv4 to the vast ocean of IPv6. And yet, as anyone who knows anything about IPv6 adoption will tell you, there’s still a long way to go. That’s why, here at the RIPE NCC, we’ve decided to the anniversary of World IPv6 Launch with a free, one-day, online course that will bring together participants to explore where we currently stand and where we need to get to with IPv6.

IPv6 from where we’re standing

There are various ways of assessing progress in IPv6 deployment over the past six years. From our perspective, as the following plot indicates, we’ve seen steady growth in the number of members with IPv6. And yet, what’s also quite striking here is the clear growth, in recent years, of the number of members without IPv6.

Figure 1: Local Internet Registries with (blue) and without (red) IPv6

Whilst striking, the upward curve of that red line isn’t so surprising, and one might well make the case that it’s not such a cause for concern. Why so? Well, one thing to bear in mind here is that the rise in the number of RIPE NCC members without IPv6 started around about the same time that the IPv6 requirement was removed for IPv4 /22 allocations.

Also, during the relevant time period, a large number of entreprises and other organisations  joined the RIPE NCC as members to get some of the last bits of IPv4. Many of these members can rely on their service providers for IPv6. What’s more, there’s also a significant number of RIPE NCC members who hold more than one Local Internet Registry (LIR) account and generally only need IPv6 for one of the accounts they hold. A more in-depth discussion of these points is available here.

Looking at IPv6 from a different perspective then, since the day IPv6 was launched, the RIPE NCC has been measuring the IPv6 "readiness" of members in our service region by awarding stars based on four indicators. We’ve been watching this development very closely over the intervening years as the percentage of member accounts without IPv4 has (gradually) dropped and the percentage of four-star member accounts has (also gradually) grown. Members are awarded stars based on the following criteria:

  • Having an IPv6 address space allocation or assignment from the RIPE NCC
  • Visibility in the Routing Information Service (RIS)
  • Having a route6 object in the RIPE Database
  • Having a reverse DNS delegation set up

Here’s how the landscape has changed in six years, with the number of members without IPv6 having noticeably shrunk:

Figure 2: IPv6 RIPEness six years ago and now

Back in 2013, to make sure we were also capturing IPv6 deployment, we introduced a fifth star. To be eligible for a fifth star, organisations must have completed all the steps for achieving the first four stars, and also use IPv6 above a certain threshold. You can read more about how the fifth star is awarded here.

RIPE NCC::Educa IPv6 Day

The above outline gives only a very general impression of how things appear from our point of view when we look at IPv6. To fill in some of the details, our research and development team has an article in the works that will delve into IPv6 deployment from the perspective of RIPE Atlas and K-root data. We also have an article lined up that provides a look at IPv6 in the Netherlands in connection with the efforts of the Netherlands IPv6 Task Force. Expect both of these articles on the the anniversary of World IPv6 Launch on 6 June!

Although we very much hope you’ll find all of these individual discussions and analyses both interesting and informative, our main goal to mark the day's anniversary is to help everyone who has a role to play in IPv6 adoption (and there are a great many of us) to get clear on how each of our individual outlooks ties in to the bigger picture.

This is where RIPE NCC::Educa IPv6 Day comes into play. As the third event of its kind to be conducted by the RIPE NCC’s training team, the day-long course will bring together people from all over the world to better understand and share their views on the state of IPv6. A group of expert speakers will be exploring the history of, the implementations of, and the future of IPv6. If you haven't already registered, you can sign up online for free to join us for the whole day or a specific webinar that interests you.

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About the author

Ulka Athale Based in Amsterdam

Senior Marketing and Communications Officer at the RIPE NCC. I started working at the RIPE NCC in 2018, having previously worked in digital marketing, communications, magazine publishing and teaching.

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