IPv6 adoption

Tags: networking, my blog, my server.
By lucb1e on 2013-03-27 00:46:14 +0100

IPv6 adoption is still rather slow. Some Dutch ISPs promised support during "early 2013". I'd say "early" has come and gone by now. They probably were planning for it, then saw the hype drop off after IPv6 day and rescheduled. Some announced to have delayed it, others never said it would happen. The only ISP that I know supporting a full and free IPv6 connection is XS4ALL. Heck, we get a /64 IPv6 subnet by default at no cost! That's more than twice the entire IPv4 space.

Some more good things about XS4ALL before I move on, simply because I think they're underrated.
- They are a little more expensive. Yes.
- I get a free Linux server with unmetered bandwidth and ssh. Woot!
- I get free WiFi on KPN hotspots. That means fast internet on lots of train stations, hotels, etc., and it doesn't eat up your 3g subscription.
- Outgoing port 25 (smtp) enabled, this is great for server hosters.
- Free €250 router (free, as in, when we pay the €10 shipping costs).
- Fast phone support with smart people.
- Downtime is so rare that I can't remember the last time.
- Did I mention IPv6 support?

That said, let's move on to how many other internet users have IPv6. The traffic stats from our Amsterdam Internet Exchange, the biggest in the world (or maybe second biggest now), show that normal traffic is between 600Gbps and 1900Gbps, depending on the time of day.

IPv6 traffic is between 2Gbps and 5.5Gbps. That's between 3.3‰ and 2.9‰. Note that those are promille signs, not percentage signs. So between 0.33% and 0.29%.

For my server, things are just slightly better; out of 677 670 log entries:
- There were 46 574 IPv6 requests, or 7.3%.
- However, excluding myself, this was only 0.52%. Almost twice as much as most internet traffic, but still not very much.
- 10% of the non-me IPv6 requests were from Google's bot.
- Another 10% goes to other XS4ALL customers.
- Bing and Yahoo don't use IPv6. I wonder why Google dominates search.
- 2900 actual IPv6 requests. Out of 634417...

The problem is that most other ISPs are fighting for the lowest price, not service quality. Trainings are expensive so only a handful of people know how it works, hardware might need a long-overdue upgrade, and then the actual rollout and configuration takes plain old manhours. With a low budget and the optic fiber rollout that's currently taking place as well, this is quite an expense.

You might think it gets better once the fiber rollout is complete, then lots of new hardware is running the network and things have to be reconfigured anyway. Better get IPv6 done as well then, right? Well no, most already runs on fiber, it's just the consumer's modems that get the upgrade. Fiber won't help much.

After the change to IPv6, network load should actually go down. IPv4 was never designed with the global web in mind, and multicast never really became used. IPv6 is a new protocol in more ways than just more addresses: muticast, no checksum recalculation on every router, and no packet fragmentation during transit are just a few things to name.

Right now IPv4 is faster because of two reasons: the addresses take less space and everything is optimized for it. With IPv6 the MTU has actually gone down, but with faster and faster networks it makes no sense to keep it this way. Jumbo packets (5x larger packets, or 5x larger MTU size) are really something I see happening very soon after or during IPv6 adoption, and they already have pretty good support on LAN networks. This will make the speed loss due to longer address length quite irrelevant pretty soon after the upgrade. CPU requirements of routers also go down when there are much less intensive operations to perform for each package (such as checksums and fragmentation).

Hetzner and other hosting providers are already charging more for IPv4 addresses due to the shortage. Things will have to be switched over to v6 some day in any case.

When?

We'll probably hear another announcement about "early 2014" some time soon, perhaps the next IPv6 day. The last IPv6 days were in June 2012 and June 2011, but the ISC hasn't announced one yet so I'm not sure it'll happen in June this year. Stay tuned I guess...
lucb1e.com
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