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Two months after World IPv6 launch, measuring IPv6 Adoption: 6lab.cisco.com/stats

A few weeks ago I shared my view on World IPv6 Launch impact: http://blogs.cisco.com/news/ipv6webimpact. Roughly two months later, it is time to look again, and time to reflect on what has been accomplished.

I used to represent the IPv6 migration of the last 10 years as a classic Mexican standoff. Basically, no one (ISP, Content owner, Users, Devices, Enterprises) could see a benefit in being the first one to move, and the risk was perceived too high. At the same time the IPv4 address pools, both at global, regional and local level, are being exhausted, and there was a consensus, it was an absolute must to enable IPv6, to make sure the Internet could continue to grow, prosper, and innovate. But no one moved…

This is the impasse that World IPv6 Launch, on June 6th 2012, has removed forever !

Sponsored and brilliantly managed by the Internet Society, World IPv6 Launch, was a great way to create our own crisis as an industry, and in a very practical way, just deal with it (Leading Content providers, ISP and Enterprises, led by example, turned on IPv6 for good and subsequently left it on). But let not be foolish this was just the beginning. In order for IPv6 to power the Internet at large, there are many many deployment phases the industry has to go through, multiple challenges that have to be overcome. The Internet is probably the largest communication system mankind has ever built, and it is VERY decentralized. The migration to IPv6 is no exception. IPv6 deployments, will not happen coincidentally across regions and countries, and the current danger is that the migration happens at very different pace around the globe, creating great imbalance in the continuous availability of an unencumbered, end to end, global Internet.

Having clear metrics to measure on-going IPv6 adoption is the best way to foster deployment, monitor success and spot trouble areas, and in the end, make better (data driven) business decision. This is the challenge, Cisco IPv6 High Impact Project group has addressed.

In order to understand how we are doing globally and locally, each of the deployment phases has to be measured. All theses statistics will be gathered computed and displayed daily, on a global AND on a per-country basis, in order to be able to understand adoption drivers, trends, and be able to benchmark performance against peer countries.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce 6lab.cisco.com/stats , Cisco’s IPv6 adoption statistics WEB site, where you will find daily consolidated and updated statistics in a single view at global and country level.

  • Simply mouse over the world map to see aggregated metrics per country.
  • Select your favorite “data type” to see more details for each metric.
  • Click on “world-scale data” or click on a country  to display historical data.
  •  Methodology, explanation of available data, and a tutorial are available http://6lab.cisco.com/stats/information.php
  • Country “IPv6 overall deployment” index is the weighted average of  adoption metrics:  {IPv6 Transit AS*25 % + IPv6 Content*25 %+ IPv6 Users*50 %}

Internet IPv6 deployment has to go through many phases. let me describe how we can measure progress for each and every phase. When existing data are publicly available we use them.  When nothings is readily available or isn’t satisfactory, we’ve build programs to gather complementary statistics.

Before doing anything with IPv6, one needs to build a plan. One of the first step of that plan is to get an IPv6 prefix. Measuring the growth of IPv6 prefix allocation by region and country give a good leading indicator of future IPv6 deployment. We can then, measure the percentage of theses prefixes that show up in the Internet BGP Routing table. That provides a metric of actual IPv6 Networks deployment rate, and a leading indicator to contrast and compare Network readiness with peer countries

The first place where IPv6 needs to be enabled, in the Internet, is the Core Network (the so called Internet Transit Providers). We can measure penetration of IPv6 in theses core networks by digging the BGP Routing Table. Not every BGP Autonomous System has the same importance in the Internet, so we computed a weight and a rank for each and every Autonomous Systems, based on the number of time it shows up in the path for all IPv4 and IPv6 prefixes.
The majors transit providers, sometimes called Tier1, have ALL enabled IPv6 transit service, and 80% of the TOP 100 AS’s are transit for IPv6 and IPv4.
While The Core of the Internet is mostly ready, more work needs to be done in the regional and local transit networks.  As we move to the “periphery” of the Internet, IPv6 readiness is getting weaker.

As the Core is getting ready, Content providers and Enterprise alike can now, get proper IPv6 connectivity and enable their Web Site, and Applications. In order to measure IPv6 Content we have to collect and correlate multiple metrics. We need to look into the DNS system, to find out how many domain names (ex: www.google.com, or www.cisco.com) have a bounded IPv6 address (aka AAAA). But that’s hardly sufficient; having an AAAA record does not mean the site is actually reachable over IPv6. So we open an HTTP session to the Domain home page over IPv6, before we declare a site to be fully IPv6 enabled.

Another common step before enabling IPv6 in production is to create an IPv6 test WEB site, with a dedicated domain name.
So if a AAAA record doesn’t exist for a given Domain, we also look for commonly used IPv6 clone Domain Name such as ipv6.domain.com, or ww6.domain.com or go6.domain.com … This is providing a really good leading indication of how many web sites are actually PLANNING a future deployment of IPv6.

When measuring IPv6 reachable content, globally of locally, one should consider the relative importance of the web sites. Users are more likely to connect, spend time and access content on the most popular sites. Google, Facebook, Netflix, Wikipedia or Yahoo globally or Baidu in China or Mail.ru in Russia attract the majority of users and hence generate the most traffic.
So we looked at, and tested, the TOP500 Web sites (as per www.alexa.com) in around 130 countries, which are representing the vast majority of users, clicks and content on the Internet. The rest of the web sites are really the long tail of Internet content, and do not have a significant impact. We also looked at the weight of each web site, among the country TOP500. Again based on www.alexa.com publicly available data (% of pages viewed), we computed a function that based on its country rank, assigns a weight to each and every WEB site in country TOP500.

By summing up the pre-computed weights of every IPv6 enabled site (as per previous tested list), we can get an estimated % of pages available over IPv6 per country. That is the estimated content, that an average IPv6 Internet user in a given country can get access to. It is the kind of data that ISP and Network operator should look at, in order to do proper capacity planning of their IPv6 infrastructure, or perhaps more importantly how much sessions/traffic will bypass the CGN and other NAT’s along the way .

The estimated % of WEB pages reachable over IPv6 varies greatly across countries.  (Ex: Brazil: 50%, France: 46%, Germany: 44%, USA: 40%, Russia: 24%, China: 18% ). In the most advanced countries we can see the Mexican Standoff situation dissolving. There is now a significant amount of content available for IPv6 users.

Hence Internet Service Providers have now a good business reason to offer IPv6 to their broadband and mobile end-users. Since World IPv6 Launch several leading Service Providers (both fixed and mobile) around the world, are enabling IPv6 by default for new subscribers, starting a transition and driving steady growth of IPv6 enabled users. And more ISP will do the same in the coming months.
Google is measuring and publishing the percentage of end-user connections they see coming to Google Search over IPv6 (http://www.google.com/ipv6/statistics.html). APNIC (the ASIA PAC Internet Regional Registry) is also measuring IPv6 end-user adoption leveraging Adware Networks to sense IPv6 end-user capabilities (http://www.circleid.com/posts/20120625_measuring_ipv6_country_by_country/).
Both Google and APNIC data’s tend to be very consistent globally, except perhaps in countries (ex: China) were Google Search is not as prevalent, and for which APNIC methodology seems to produce more accurate data. So rather than re-inventing the wheel, we shamelessly  just publish their data (thank you to both, for sharing).

Globally the % of Internet users who enjoy IPv6 connectivity now passed .8%. That does not seems a lot, however it is growing fast and this is already representing Millions of Internet users.  There are great disparities across the world. User enablement greatly depends on local ISP ability and willingness to deliver IPv6 connectivity, as well as home router or device upgrade.

As of August 1st 2012 (but it is already obsolete) , the % of IPv6 Internet users in the most significant countries is: Romania 8.6%, France 4.7%, Japan 1.8%, USA 1.5%… that represent millions of end users around the world.

In conclusion, great progress in enabling IPv6 Network and Content. Thank you very much to World IPv6 Launch that has helped tremendously turning on IPv6 in the Internet infrastructure. There is still a long way to go, before a  significant proportion of Internet users have IPv6 connectivity in production. I hope this IPv6 Adoption Statistics tool http://6lab.cisco.com/stats will help stimulate the Internet eco-system to enable IPv6 at an accelerated pace, in particular in regions where IPv4 exhaustion is becoming a very acute problem. No doubt IPv6 is critical for the Internet to continue to grow and prosper for the next generations.

Special thank to Hugo Kaczmarek for doing a lot of the heavy lifting, gathering data, mushing and crunching numbers and creating a cool web site.

What have you enabled IPv6 on TODAY?  At Cisco, we enabled IPv6 on http://blogs.cisco.com . You should read this blog over IPv6.

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Leading Belgian Cable Operator VOO Deploys IPv6

Belgian cable operator VOO looked at the future of the Internet several years ago and recognized that they needed a plan to move to IPv6 if they were to continue to efficiently grow their business. As the leading provider of broadband cable services in the southern part of Belgium they provide video, high speed Internet at speeds of up to 100Mbps, and digital telephony services, primarily to residential customers in Wallonia and Brussels. The company has been one of the fastest growing service providers in Europe; since VOO launched its triple play services at end of 2009, they’ve acquired more than 1 million subscribers. VOO also recently acquired a 3G mobile license to expand their service capabilities.

For network operators such as VOO, business and service is continuity critical. They cannot afford to have services affected while they migrate to new technology. VOO ultimately selected Cisco’s Carrier Grade IPv6 solution since we gave them a clear migration path to IPv6 and they sought a trusted partner who could offer a future flexible solution. Using our dual-stack technology with the Cisco CRS-3 and CMTS they can run IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously in order to maintain a high-quality customer experience during the transition.

Nico Weymaere, VOO’s Chief Technology Officer shares his view on the positive impact of IPv6 for both his company and the Internet:

The IPv6 capabilities of the VOO network will provide them a foundation to easily support new services. As we’ve noted previously with our Visual Networking Index, by 2016, there will be nearly 19 billion global network connections (fixed and mobile); the equivalent of two and a half connections for every person on earth. We can’t get there with the limited address space provided by IPv4.

On behalf of Cisco, let me thank the entire VOO team for putting your trust in us.

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The IPv6 Internet for the Next Thousand (Ten Thousand?) Years!

Today marks a huge milestone in the networking industry – the official launch by the Internet Society (ISOC) of the new IPv6-based Internet helps ensure its continued growth and impact on the world economy. This new Internet has been in the works for over two decades, including the publication of the first IPv6 standard (RFC2460) by Steven Deering of Cisco and Robert Hinden of Nokia. Since then the industry has made incredible investments in technology to reach this successful achievement including today’s official participation of over 2000 websites and 50+ network operators. According to some of our own calculations we’re estimating that 30% of the world’s web pages are now directly reachable by IPv6.

For us at Cisco on our Service Provider Marketing team, it’s been an exciting journey. We first sought to make the industry challenge imposed by the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses more widely understood by a non-technical audience. Hence our effort at some humor with Read More »

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IDC’s Nav Chander Analyzes the Economics of the IPv6 Transition

Everyone is talking about the transition to IPv6 in the run up to the June 6th launch of the IPv6 Internet. Most of the discussion has focused on the technical details of various approaches – 6rd vs. DS-Lite vs. CGNAT for example. However, what we haven’t seen is an effort made to look at the economic impact of the choice between IPv4 extension vs. IPv6 transition and back it up with some real world data. A few months back we asked telecommunications analyst Nav Chander of IDC (pictured right) to evaluate and publish the results of an economic analysis of the IPv6 options. This is a crucial and timely topic because operators are faced with important decisions about which transition technologies to use, when to implement them, and where in the network.

We’re pleased to report that Nav is finished and is ready to reveal the results of his findings. To keep the scope of his analysis within a reasonable boundary, he initially focused on just one scenario: that of a wireline carrier considering the deployment of a Carrier Grade NAT-only implementation (which basically just extends the life of IPv4 with no IPv6), or migrating to IPv6 with a combination of CGNAT (for short term IPv4 extension) and while new customers were deployed with 6rd.

The results of this study are detailed in a new Read More »

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An “A” or an “F”? Comcast and Cisco Grade the Cable Industry on IPv6 Readiness

For many students, this time of the year marks “Spring Break”.  (Ah, just the thought of this brings back fun memories…)  However, once you get past the stereotypical party imagery, it really is a time of assessment.  Mid-term exams complete and we ask ourselves what we need to do to achieve that final grade.  Service providers find themselves in similar circumstance with the IPv6 subject as World IPv6 “graduation” day quickly approaches in June.

At the March 20th Light Reading Cable event in Denver, two pioneers in the IPv6 field – our own Fred Baker, a Cisco Fellow and IETF Chair, and John Brzozowski, Chief IPv6 Architect at Comcast — talk candidly about the benefits of IPv6, beyond address widening; how operators are doing, in terms of the upcoming launch; and what happens post-transition. Fred also handles one he hears a lot “When is IPv6 going to be done? Because I’ll deploy it then…”

Read More »

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