U.S. Government Goes IPv6

I didn’t even realize, but the mandate to go IPv6 has passed for the U.S. Government. Not that it really mattered anyway. Until consumer devices ship IPv6 ready and enabled, and ISP’s start rolling out IPv6, this is just an exercise is what will hopefully save work later on.

Seems most Government websites I’ve checked so far that are IPv6 are using CDN’s to provide IPv6 connectivity. I’m betting behind the scenes it’s all IPv4 still.

World IPv6 Launch Day

World IPv6 Launch

It’s here! World IPv6 Launch begins June 6 2012 00:00:00 UTC. The future of the Internet (and the beginning of the death of NAT).

I’ve started enabling IPv6 on my websites including this one, which is already seeing a few IPv6 hits. I expect to see that climb over time. I’ve noticed Facebook turned on IPv6 recently. Google is expected to at any moment. A handful of bugs limit me from flipping the switch on a few more sites, but I hope to get that resolved soon enough. Still better than my 2010 projections.

If you’re unsure if you’re internet connection supports IPv6 yet, you can find out at:

Final IPv4 Unicast Address Allocations

For better or worse this really is a momentous moment for the internet. The full letter from the IETF Chair is as follows (copied for posterity):

You have probably already heard the news, but just to make sure no one is left out of the loop, I am posting this note.

The last five /8 IPv4 address blocks were assigned today.

Two /8s were recently allocated to APNIC, which triggered the implementation of the Exhaustion Phase set out in the Global Policy for the Allocation of the Remaining IPv4 Address Space. Today in Miami, Florida in a very nice ceremony, this policy was implemented, and each RIR received one of the final /8 address blocks. As of now, there are no more unallocated IPv4 unicast /8s in the IANA pool. The current status of the IPv4 address space can be seen in the IANA IPv4 Address Space Registry at:


We have all known that this day was coming for a long time. In preparation, the IETF developed IPv6. IPv6 is ready, and it has been ready for a long time. This milestone simply increases the urgency for IPv6 deployment. The explosive growth of the Internet can only continue with the bigger address space offered by IPv6.

The depletion of the IANA IPv4 address pool is not a crisis. Next week the Internet will not be significantly different that it was a week ago. There will not be any notable short-term effects caused by the empty IANA IPv4 address pool.

There is no crisis, but there is a need for action so that the Internet can continue to grow. The transition to IPv6 requires the attention of many actors. However, our parents, spouses, and children will be largely unaware of the transition. They will continue to be amazed of the endless possibilities offered by the growing Internet. For them, this milestone will remain insignificant.

To the universal deployment of IPv6,

Who knew we’d eventually run out (Vint Cerf says himself he never imagined how much would be needed). It’s crazy when you think about it. It’s important however to remember however that the distribution is hardly efficient and lots of companies own way more IPv4 space than they will ever actually use.

I’ve pretty much gotten through my software stack IPv6 wise, but have yet to begun network and configuration to support it. Hopefully soon enough I’ll have everything running dual stack.

IPv6 By January 2012?

From ComputerWorld:

John Curran, President and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, is warning Web site operators that they must enable IPv6 by Jan.1, 2012 or risk disenfranchising a significant number of their visitors

While I agree IPv6 deployment is important, I don’t think most websites will be even close to making this deadline, nor do I think it will be necessary. I think ISP’s would rather stretch their existing IP allocations by using NAT’s in some markets than tell Grandma to update her Windows ME computer and telling most customers that their home router isn’t IPv6 ready.

FWIW I don’t have IPv6 support enabled on this server. I won’t explicitly rule it out, but I’m not sure I’ll make that deadline.

Nobody Is Using IPv6

Arbor Networks found that almost nobody is using IPv6 (a peak of 0.012% to be exact). Not exactly shocking.

This is due to a chicken or the egg problem:

  • ISP’s don’t give out IPv6 addresses because the majority of their customers can’t handle it. Modern operating systems support IPv6, but these days most people use broadband routers, which only support IPv4. As a result most can’t use IPv6.
  • Hardware vendors that make routers and switches often don’t support IPv6 to keep costs low, and performance high. It’s not needed since most ISP’s don’t support it anyway, and that doesn’t look like it’s about to change anytime soon.

There are however a few ISP’s that have experimented with IPv6.

Of course another issue is that most websites don’t use IPv6, but I think that’s the easiest to fix. Since most servers are hosted in data centers with expensive routers that could be upgraded. Nobody bothers because it’s not much more than a novelty. Servers themselves use modern operating systems that can easily support IPv6.

So what will change this? A massive government push. Something along the lines of Digital TV transition. It would need to do the following:

  • Specify a date after which all hardware and software sold must be IPv6 compatible.
  • Specify a date after which all ISP’s with more than X customers, or a certain bandwidth level must support IPv6.

Unlike the Digital TV transition, there’s no real push to kill IPv4, so it wouldn’t be so bad if it died a natural death like Gopher and just became antiquated and disappeared. DTV is different since the space freed up can be auctioned for large sums of money, which is the real incentive for the switch anyway.

Will it happen? I doubt it.

The Olympics is available via IPv6 (more info here). China has a better IPv6 plan since their growing population means they see the need for more IP space. Not to mention the US has a much higher allocation than China.

The DoD as well as the US Government in general has been moving to IPv6, but they have yet to make any real push for the private sector.

Until the US Government realizes a push is necessary it’s not going to happen. To bad. I’d love to point a domain name at a toaster. I’d love even more to get rid of NATs, since they are a nightmare for software to work with.

Strange Population Statistics

Yesterday the estimated world population passed 6,666,666,666. Interesting (though just coincidence) the estimated number of available IPv4 addresses was supposed to pass 666,666,666. Perhaps we are the beast?

An interesting thing to note is that the population is increasing at a very rapid rate. How long it’s sustainable before a Malthusian catastrophe is subject to debate. Some say the industrial age freed us of that pending disaster, others say that just bought a little more time. By about 2024 there is expected to be 8 billion people. IPv6 can’t come soon enough

[Hat Tip: Slashdot]