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Demystifying IPv6

Version 6 of the Internet protocol (IPv6) is a key enabler of the Internet of Everything (IoE). People, data, and things all need IP addresses to connect to the Internet. But we’ve already run out of IP addresses under IPv4, which dictates almost all (98.5 percent) of Internet traffic today. Even with all of the attention IPv6 has received, confusion and misinformation abound.

I’m extremely pleased to have Mark Townsley, Cisco Fellow and recognized industry expert on IP, explore IPv6 over a series of three blogs.

In these posts, Mark will demystify IPv6, discuss how to best make the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, and take a look “under the hood” of IP so that companies and industries can get the most value from IoE. Read More »

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Worldwide IPv6 Usage Reaches Key Threshold

This past weekend, Google’s IPv6 Statistics reported that on November 17, 2012, user activity on their websites via native IPv6 reached 1% for the very first time. This may not sound like much at first glance, but for a system like the Internet which is slated to have 19 billion active fixed and mobile network connections by 2016, even one percent of this whole marks an impressive achievement. The billions of applications, devices, routers, and switches that make up the Internet are all interconnected such that if any one doesn’t support IPv6 on a given path between the end user and the content the user is trying to reach, the system automatically falls back to IPv4. This is necessary to keep the Internet running while the upgrade occurs, but it also means that the benefits of end-to-end traffic flow over IPv6 occurs only after all the various links in the chain are all capable of supporting IPv6.

To get a better idea of how each individual piece of the deployment puzzle is advancing, Cisco has been tracking various leading indicators and regional deployment statistics. We’ve pulled these together in an interactive tool at 6lab.cisco.com where  you can view IPv6 deployment data from a variety of perspectives. With the tool you can “mouse over” different regions of the world to see how various countries are doing in different areas. For example, by moving your mouse cursor over the United States, you can see that 57% of the networks that appear as transit for IPv4 today also support IPv6, end users as measured by Google is higher than the global average at 1.93%, and that 45% of the time the average user in the US visits an IPv6 reachable website.  You can also dig down into the methodology we are using to create the various rankings and percentages.

Moving the needle

Back in 2007 when Google began publishing its IPv6 measurements, native IPv6 deployment stood at 0.04%. Working together, the industry moved the needle 2500% over the past five years (while adding an additional billion users to the Internet during the same period). To help make this happen, two historic industry events have occurred: The World IPv6 Day in 2011 and the World IPv6 Launch in 2012. During the planning stages for the World IPv6 Launch, I had the privilege to work alongside other industry leaders and the Internet Society until agreement was reached to target three categories of participants that committed to enable production-level IPv6 by default: website operators, network operators, and home router vendors. Cisco signed on and participated as both a website operator and home router vendor.

Making a commitment is one thing, allowing a public measurement for all to see is another. For a website it is rather simple to measure IPv6 deployment as either a “AAAA” record for IPv6 exists in the public DNS system and the website can be reached from the Internet over IPv6 or not. For the network operator category we were looking for a lasting commitment together with some measurable factor that would provide reasonable proof that the network had moved beyond trials and on to production-level deployment. After much discussion, we came up with these two basic commitments for this category:

  1. IPv6 be a “normal part of business operations” for users, targeting ISPs to commit to enable IPv6 for users by default rather than on “special request”
  2. One percent of all user activity as measured by Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Bing over IPv6 by June 6, 2012, the inaugural day of the Launch.

In practice, reaching one percent of user activity means deployment to a considerably larger subscriber base than one percent after accounting for legacy home networking gear, operating systems, and applications. For an ISP to reach this level as measured by the content providers, the “general population” of subscribers would have to brought into the deployment -- a strong indication of production-level operation and reasonable proof that the deployment was more than a trial of friendly users or beta testers.

Looking Ahead

The aim of the World IPv6 Launch was to spark a sustained growth of IPv6 usage leading up to and continuing after June 6, 2012. The continued growth since June 6 and the milestone reached this weekend is an indicator that this commitment had its intended affect thus far. The Internet Society is continuing to report measurements for World IPv6 Launch participants, and has been soliciting new members. There are quite a few Network Operators on the list now, including not only ISPs but universities and other types of networks as well. As long as a network  has its own Autonomous System number, it can be measured and potentially added to the participant list. Cisco now has its own AS (#109) on the list, making it the first in the world that is participating in all three categories of the World IPv6 Launch.

User activity as measured by Google hit 0.25% for the first time in March 2011. A year later, on March 10, 2012, it doubled to 0.5% for the first time. It’s taken about 8 months to double that again to reach 1.0% today. If this trend continues, it will double again by mid next year and could break past 10% by the end of 2014. The trend is increasingly clear: If you are a network operator, network-enabled application developer, or anyone else that works with IP and are not running IPv6 now or don’t have a plan in place to make it happen soon, now is the time to get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today is World IPv6 Day – Are You In?

Across the globe, organizations have come together today at the World IPv6 Launch to mark a milestone in unique fashion: Turning on and permanently enabling IPv6 networks for their products and services.

According to the recent CiscoVisual Networking Index (VNI), there will be nearly two-and-a-half  networked devices for every person on the planet – roughly 19 billion connected devices by 2016. It’s not only people that are being connected, but also machines. Two billion M2M (machine to machine) connections are expected by 2015. Not surprisingly, global IP traffic has increased eightfold over the past five years and will increase threefold over the next five. To support the proliferation of devices that are transforming businesses and lifestyles, enterprises and service providers are adopting IPv6-enabled networks.

Anyone who has taken the road to IPv6 knows it’s not about flipping a switch. Many things need to be in order beforehand, and it takes expertise and planning to understand the manifold contingencies and then ensure a smooth migration to IPv6 – while also preserving existing IPv4 investments.

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Cisco Leading the Way in IPv6 Certifications

Cisco Leading the Way in IPv6 Certifications

 IPv6 has reached an important milestone.  Governments around the world are implementing mandates for the acquisition and deployment of IPv6 capable products. Industry wide, both enterprise and service providers are also gearing up to provide IPv6 capabilities in their networks. The momentum has been captured in the form of World IPv6 Launch day on June 6th.

Cisco is an industry thought leader in IPv6 and has addressed IPv6 implementation in its products to meet the requirements of government, industry and consumers. The majority of Cisco’s core products have been supporting IPv6 for well over a decade.  The acceleration of IPv6 adoption has increased in the last few years, with a corporate wide focus on implementing IPv6 across Cisco’s product lines. Cisco understands and appreciates the leadership government has taken in the adoption of IPv6 and has invested heavily in partnering with various government agencies to enable this vision.

Specifically in the government certifications arena, Cisco has been long involved in the National Institute of Standards and Technologies, or NIST’s, USGv6 program. When the US Government mandated the purchase of IPv6-certified products, Cisco was the first company to embrace this direction. We are working directly with NIST and the Department of Defense, as well as standards bodies to meet the government requirements. Cisco is at the forefront of enabling our government customers to implement IPv6 as is evidenced by the number of products we’ve taken through the USGv6 certification testing. Cisco was the first company to have a router, a switch and a firewall certified through USGv6. Read More »

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IPv6 Planning – Where Do I Start?

May 29, 2012 at 5:00 am PST

World IPv6 Day is on June 6, 2012 and organizations everywhere will be permanently enabling IPv6 for their products and services. With the date fast approaching, you might be wondering: where do I start with my IPv6 transition?

Integrating IPv6 into an existing network may seem like a daunting task. Big tasks can create ‘analysis paralysis’ to the point where nothing gets done because the perception is that the task is too big to take on.  The key in this scenario is to not think about the task as one big one, but rather a series of small tasks that can be handled independently.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started with IPv6:

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