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Wi-Fi: A Major “Hotspot” for Service Providers

By Tony Verspecht and Luiz Lima, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG)

Growth in mobile network traffic is staggering: Driven by the onslaught of devices that are now connected to the Internet, mobile data traffic is expected to grow three times faster than fixed IP traffic, exceeding 6 exabytes per month by 2015, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index. This presents service providers (SPs) with a tremendous opportunity to invest in Wi-Fi services to create carrier-class Wi-Fi experience and increase revenues.

While specialized providers have operated commercial Wi-Fi hotspots for nearly two decades, most SPs see Wi-Fi as a fairly new business. To understand the implications of Wi-Fi on SP operations, Cisco® IBSG interviewed a number of SP executives. Following are some of the key insights, which are further discussed in “Wi-Fi for Service Providers: Challenges and Opportunities for Carrier-Class Operations”:

  • Basic Wi-Fi service coverage expansion is still the main driver—Even among established Wi-Fi SPs with a large number of hotspots, the average yearly increase in access points is 14 percent.
  • Value-added Wi-Fi services Read More »

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Surfing the Net: Staying Secure, Safe, and Smart

Earlier this year at a release party of Talking Back to Facebook, Chelsea Clinton asked the audience an important question facing the parents of today’s tech-savvy kids: “How do we help cultivate curiosity about content … while also protecting kids so that every kid gets to be a kid …?”

Scams have become a lot more complicated than the old standard: “I’m a Prince from [_____], please wire me 2 million dollars!”, and viral methods of stealing identities and money are more sophisticated than ever. Adults have good reason to be concerned about how publicly available their personal information is over the net. Companies like SafeShepherd are committed to helping their clients remove their personal information from publicly accessible databases. Other resources, like A Platform for Good, have been created to help teach parents, teachers, and kids about efficient online safety practices. The objective here is to teach our children smart and safe web practices.

Read More »

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Outlining Blueprints for the ‘Digital City’ of the Future

What does the future hold for our cities?

Previous centuries saw industrial infrastructure (such as rail, highways, and telephone lines) paving the way for new cities – and for a host of new connections. Now, change is being driven by a global “network of networks” that is making it possible for everything to become connected to everything else. In 2001, about 300 million devices—computers, cell phones, PDAs—were connected. By 2010, this web of invisible connections had expanded to include everything from cars and lights to buildings and security cameras. Read More »

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The Argument for a Private Cloud in Prisons

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

The stories on the Connected Life Exchange frequently focus on the importance of bringing broadband access to the Internet where it’s needed most — underdeveloped countries, rural communities and under-served areas. While broadband in and of itself cannot boost an economy, it’s a fundamental element in improving both education in the public sector and opportunity in the private sector.

But there’s one demographic segment of the population in the U.S., the UK, and undoubtedly in many other countries, that doesn’t have Internet access, and is unlikely to have it soon: prisoners.

Read More »

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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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