Preparing for IPv6 is easier than you’d think. Chris Phillips, Managing Partner of Aptient Consulting Group gives some useful advice for service providers and home users who are ready to make the effort toward IPv6.
Guest Blog Post by Chris Phillips
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The mode by which the inevitable comes to pass is effort.” With ARIN’s available IPv4 addresses dipping below 1.5 /8s, an IPv6 Internet is inevitable. But the effort bit is underwhelming, at best.
At the current rate the old addresses are being acquired, we may see complete IPv4 depletion by the end of 2014. Yet just a slim 12 percent of the Alexa top 1000 most-visited websites on the Internet are reachable through IPv6. An even more minuscule 2.75 percent of Internet users reach Google via IPv6. And according to the Amsterdam Internet Exchange – the world’s largest single Internet exchange point by member ports – a paltry 0.6 percent (IPv4 2,469 Gbps vs. IPv6 15 Gbps) of traffic exchanged is over IPv6
Based on the disappointing IPv6 adoption numbers, it seems like businesses are avoiding the new protocol because they believe the transition is too difficult. But in my professional experience preparing for IPv6 is actually quite simple.
Network service providers who already have an IPv4 allocation from ARIN will find it is easy to get IPv6. All you need to do is apply for an IPv6 allocation, and the process is usually far less complicated than applying for an IPv4 allocation because different policy requirements apply. For example, instead of the rigors of justifying each subnet as small as a /29 from your current IPv4 assignments, like you would if you were applying for additional IPv4 addresses; your IPv6 allocation size is determined by the number of geographically diverse locations your network has for an end user. Once you provide ARIN that information, you can be allocated a minimum of a /32, or 79 decillion (yes, that’s actually a real number) IP addresses.
Once you have IPv6 addresses, adding them into your existing network is astonishingly easy in most well-engineered networks. Most tier 1 and tier 2 carriers offer\ native IPv6 transit services and will have no problem accommodating your BGP announcements. Adding IPv6 into your IGP is also very simple. OSPFv3’s configuration syntax is nearly identical to OSPF’s on both Cisco and Juniper equipment. Running OSPF and OSPFv3 in parallel is uncomplicated. The case is the same for IS-IS. A lot has been written about how to add IPv6 to your network. IPv6 implementation will vary depending on your infrastructure, so there’s no one “right” way. But a quick Google search for “IPv6 IGP” should yield a lot of useful results, including many from popular hardware vendors. Once you receive your IPv6 allocation, it should only be a matter of days before you can start offering IPv6 services.
IPv6 at home
For end users, adoption has been negligible. Understandably, this is the slowest market to adopt IPv6 – even though it’s the market that needs it the most. The disappointing statistics with regards to IPv6 adoption on the Alexa Top 1000 seem to bear out the perception among uninformed end users that parts of the Internet will become unreachable to them. In actuality, 6to4 gateways will ensure they can communicate with IPv4-only networks. Fortunately for savvier home consumers, Comcast, the largest eyeball network in the US, has started rolling out IPv6 to those users who want it. Comcast customers can log onto www.comcast6.net to find out whether their areas support IPv6, and how to enable it.
What Can I Do?
Petition your cable and DSL provider to adopt IPv6. They likely already have a plan in place to adopt IPv6, but it may not be a priority if there doesn’t seem to be much consumer demand. Inform them that ARIN only has 25 million IPv4 addresses left. That works out to just one IPv4 address for every 7.88 Americans, and doesn’t count Canada and many parts of the Caribbean, which are also served by ARIN. The time to act is now.
Petition your hosting provider to add IPv6 support, or find an alternative provider.. Rackspace, for instance, assigns every new VPS an IPv4 and an IPv6 address by default, and their cloud-based hosted DNS service also supports quad A records.
Finally, you can join me and become an IPv6 evangelist. There are many IPv6 readiness and awareness websites. Find out how you can become involved in the IPv6 awareness community and help push the Internet’s transition forward. IPv6 is inevitable, but it won’t be pretty without our effort.