During the first half of 2011, IPv6 was a hot topic, not just in the industry but also covered by the mass media. I was surprised to see IPv6 being mentioned on the TV News opening highlights along with the news of the Arab Spring. However, according to the news, it seems now we moved to a quite period, but what’s happening behind the scenes?
PCWorld state that by midyear (2012), Europe's RIPE NCC (Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre) is expected to allocate the last of its addresses under the version of Internet Protocol used by most consumers and enterprises now.
The majority of Service Providers I’ve met have started to determine an IPv6 transition strategy that makes the most sense for their environment. The best strategy depends always on a wide range of highly unique variables and assumptions, including their remaining address pool and forecast address consumption rates as well as their current and target markets and service mix, their network readiness and investment cycle, their technology and business goals. In other words: There is no single solution that fits all. 2012 will be a multi-year transition after all.
It is difficult to know the real number of IPv6 active users in the Internet as most of the traffic, reaches sites not IPv6 enabled. According to a ‘Measurement Factory’ study, less than 1% of all subdomains surveyed had IPv6-enabled web servers.
Source: Comcast’s IPv6 Monitor - Figure: IPv6 Reachabiity Among Top 1M+ Web Sites
The main issue with IPv6 adoption is the lack of a killer application to urge end-user migration to IPv6. Internet content itself is not a driver as ALL sites are reachable via IPv4 and just a few sites are also available on IPv6 (<1% among the Top 1M websites, according to Comcast/Alexa). In this context, the IPv6 adoption will grow exclusively based on the progression of the IPv4 address exhaustion.
What can we expect in 2012 to happen?
In the meantime I would encourage every Service Provider and organisation, if you haven’t done so, to run a Network Assessment to evaluate the IPv6 readiness and migration tactics. I hope this was your 2012 New Year resolution.