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The IPv4 Long Tail

by Juniper Employee on ‎02-02-2011 09:38 PM - last edited on ‎02-08-2011 02:55 PM by Administrator Administrator

In my opinion there are actually two IPv4 long tails, the first is the plethora of home devices ( PCs, gaming consoles, home routers, web cams, wifi cameras, Internet TVs ) which are, for the most part, IPv4-only. The second long tail is on the content side, only 0.15% of the top 1 million web sites are available over IPv6. Of course this will change but it will be some time, possibly decades, before all content is available over IPv6. It is abundantly clear that IPv4 and IPv6 must coexist as the Internet expands.


At Juniper, we have a pragmatic approach to address this diversity. At the end of the day, this is not about making a choice between IPv6 or IPv4 but the coexistence of IPv6 and IPv4. This is about growing the Internet.


For this reason Juniper is focusing on a continuum of solutions to help our customers evolve their networks. For today’s blog entry I’ll spend some time discussing the following three options:


1.     IPv4 reclamation

2.     IPv4 address sharing

3.     IPv6 as a substrate layer



IPv4 reclamation: Network administrators can squeeze more efficiency out of their assigned IPv4 address pools. This might be as simple as re-numbering some internal devices with private addresses instead of public addresses, or migrating Internal spaces to IPv6 thereby freeing-up IPv4 addresses. It is much easier to do this when we are dealing with a closed network using a very limited set of applications. A variation of this is to leverage the ‘transfer’ policies enacted by all the RIRs over the last two years. If you know a network that is not using some of their address space, you can get this space ‘transferred’ to you. You might have to ‘compensate’ that network for their efforts in this process. It will be interesting to see how the free market values IP addresses!


IPv4 address sharing: The technology to accomplish this is very well known; NAT. It has been around and deployed in small and large scale environments. Most households for example are connected to the Internet through a home gateway using NAT. Most wireless service providers have NAT in place. Try this little app “Free IP address” on your iPhone and you can observe this in action. Using the application you will see two addresses, an IPv4 local address and an IPv4 global address. Carrier Grade NATs’ or ‘large scale NATs’ or ‘CGNat’ (many names for the same thing, a box sharing IPv4 addresses) will be deployed by wireline residential service providers as well. Resulting in a solution called double NAT, NAT at the edge of the customer network and within the service provider network.


On the commercial service provider side, new business customers will receive smaller pools of IPv4 addresses. Instead of a /24 or /26, they will now get a /28 or /29, even a single /32. In turn those business customers will leverage NAT at their exit point more aggressively than they already do today.


What scaling numbers can we get for these NAT boxes? Studies on port consumptions have shown that on average a residential customer is using only a few ports at peak time. This contrasts heavily with the maximum number of ports a user can use at any given time, which can be in the order of several thousand! If you dynamically allocate ports, you can set NAT for average and not for the peaks, and essentially have thousands of users sharing the same IP address! If you want headroom, make this only a hundred. So what does this mean in practice?  Today’s residential service provider can turn a /16 class B address, (65,000 IPv4 addresses) into a resource that can be shared by 6.5 million users.


IPv6 as a substrate layer: By creating a foundation network in IPv6, service providers can build a much larger network that is manageable end to end.


Now, this ‘foundation layer’ can be used as a substrate to overlay IPv4 services. This is akin IPv6 providing a layer 2.5 network that can be leveraged to position IPv4 services and infrastructure in different locations.


For example, in residential networks, the NAT function of the home gateway and the CGNat can be co-located with a technology known as DS-Lite. This consolidates multiple layers of NAT at one point, simplifying the whole system and increasing reliability.


In commercial networks, virtual aggregation of the IPv4 address space can now be achieved because the overlayed IPv4 address plan does not have to strictly follow the underlying topology.

By decoupling the deployment of IPv6 in the network from the deployment of IPv4 in the services, a service provider can solve the chicken and egg problem that has faced IPv6 for the last twenty years.


Using this methodology, the costs and benefits of deploying IPv6 can be aligned. With this viewpoint, IPv6 alone is NOT the solution to IPv4 address exhaust (NAT is), but IPv6 is a solution to reduce the OPEX of delivering IPv4 services. This would be a logical first step. As a second step, once this IPv6 layer 2.5 is available, content and eyeballs will naturally follow. Remember, any packet that flows over IPv6 is a packet that will not go through the NAT infrastructure. This will enable a cap & grow strategy: cap the IPv4 NAT investment and at the same time grow IPv6 services.




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  • Prior to Juniper acquisition, Ankur was the Founder and CEO of Contrail Systems Inc - a pioneer in standards based network virtualization and scale-out networking software. Ankur has over 15 years of experience in building world-class networking products and leading high performance teams. Prior to Contrail, Ankur served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks, where he played critical roles in the rapid expansion of team, products, and global businesses. Before Aruba, Ankur helped drive Juniper’s initial entry into and expansion of the Ethernet Switching market. Ankur received his MSEE from Stanford University & BSEE from the University of Southern California.
  • Bob Dix currently serves as the Vice President of Government Affairs & Critical Infrastructure Protection for Juniper Networks. During his career, he has served in senior leadership roles in industry and government, including serving as Staff Director for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census during the 108th Congress. He represents Juniper on the Industry Executive Point of Contact for the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee ( NSTAC ), where he chaired the Cybersecurity Collaboration Task Force in 2009. He served as Chair of the Information Technology Sector Coordinating Council ( IT SCC ) from 2008 – 2010 and currently remains a member of the Executive Committee. Mr. Dix was elected in May, 2011 as Chair of the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security ( PCIS ). He also serves on the National Security Task Force for the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the AFCEA Cyber Security Committee and Chairs the Supply Chain Assurance Subcommittee for TechAmerica. Additionally, Dix has actively worked to insure and coordinate private sector participation and collaboration with the National Exercise Program, intended to test our nation’s preparedness and resiliency. He served as Chair of the National Private Sector Working Group for National Level Exercise 2011 and 2010. In 2007 and 2009, Dix was honored with a prestigious Federal 100 Award, and was recognized in March, 2010 as the recipient of the annual FCW Industry Eagle Award. Dix also served as a local government elected official in Northern Virginia for 12 years and in his spare time coaches AAU/Travel girls basketball.
  • Bruno Rijsman is VP of Architecture in the Security, Switching and Solutions Business Unit (S3BU). He has been with Juniper for most of the past 15 years working various areas including SDN, BGP, MPLS, broadband subscriber management, and Junos.
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  • Jonathan Davidson is Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Security, Switching and Solutions Business Unit (S3BU). In this role, he is responsible for leading innovation, growth and product development in data center, campus, branch, and cloud. Davidson oversees the development of market-leading security and networking solutions and his team manages both the EX Series and QFX family of switches as well as the SRX line of security devices. Davidson joined Juniper in 2010 as Vice President, Product Line Management for the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit where he was responsible for the product lifecycle management, strategy, implementation, solutions and go-to-market activity for a range of leading edge routing product families, such as the E, M and MX Series. Prior to joining Juniper, Davidson had a 15-year career in various leadership positions at Cisco. He served as Director of Product Management at Cisco Systems where he focused on service provider solutions and led the enterprise routing product management team and service provider Layer 4 through Layer 7 services team. During his time at Cisco, he co-authored the best-selling books Voice over IP Fundamentals and Deploying Voice over IP. He also served as Director, Service Provider Solution Engineering. Davidson has spoken at leading industry events such as Interop and has held certification as Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert #2560. He is active on social media, and frequently shares his observations about the industry on his twitter account @jonathandavidsn and blogs.
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  • Mike Marcellin is Senior Vice President of Strategy and Marketing. In this role, he leads business strategy and marketing for Juniper’s industry-leading portfolio of high-performance routing, switching and data center fabric products. Additionally, his team is responsible for go-to-market planning, sales and customer education and information experience, as well as global competitive analysis. Prior to joining Juniper in 2010, Marcellin served as Vice President of Global Managed Solutions for Verizon, where he oversaw product development and marketing of its managed IP networking, hosting, security and IT solutions for businesses around the world. He also served as Vice President of Global Product Marketing for Verizon Business, executive director of Verizon Business’ IP and Ethernet portfolio as well as leading the company’s eCRM marketing division. Marcellin began his career with MCI in 1994. Marcellin is Chairman of the CMO Board for Telecommunications Industry Association and a Board Member of US Ignite, an NSF-sponsored initiative. He was a Rodman Scholar at the University of Virginia, where he received a bachelor of science degree with distinction in systems engineering. He is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Paul Obsitnik is Vice President of Service Provider Marketing for Juniper Networks Platform Systems Division (PSD), responsible for the marketing of Juniper’s portfolio of high performance routing, switching, and data center fabric products to Service Providers globally. Paul's team is responsible for marketing strategy, product marketing, go-to-market planning, and competitive analysis worldwide for the Service Provider segment. Obsitnik has extensive experience in marketing, sales and business development positions with a proven track record in creating technology markets. He has served in senior marketing and sales management positions at several companies including BridgeWave Communications, ONI Systems, NorthPoint Communications and 3Com. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Obsitnik is based in Sunnyvale, California.
  • Rami Rahim is Chief Executive Officer of Juniper Networks and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Rahim was appointed CEO in November 2014. Rahim began his Juniper career in early 1997, as employee No. 32, and worked as an engineer on Juniper’s first breakthrough product, the M40 core router. Rahim has progressed through a series of technical and leadership roles at Juniper, applying his engineering acumen to the design and development of Juniper’s industry-leading product portfolio. He most recently served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Juniper Development and Innovation (JDI) organization, overseeing the company’s entire product and technology portfolio. His responsibilities included driving strategy, development and business growth for routing, switching, security, silicon technology, and the Junos operating system. Other leadership positions held over the years include: Executive Vice President and General Manager of Platform Systems Division for routing and switching, Senior Vice President of the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit (EABU), and Vice President and General Manager of EABU.
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