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V6 World Congress – March 2014 – A Premier IPv6 Event for the Communications Industry

Few days ago, the Networking Industry “who’s who” gathered in Paris for the fourth edition of v6 World Congress http://www.uppersideconferences.com/v6world2014/v6world2014introduction.html. I’m very proud that Cisco has been sponsoring and supporting this IPv6 Conference since its inception. It is always a very special feeling to have so many industry leaders visiting my hometown.  This event has become a milestone in the global deployment of IPv6. Paris is the place to be in March each year, if you want to get a status update of IPv6 transition, one of the most important technology transition the Internet have ever gone through.

I want to share what I personally consider, the most important take-away of the week. Read More »

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Happy First Birthday, World IPv6 Launch!

On this day one year ago I was sitting in a hotel room in London, hanging out online with Vint Cerf and engineers from Google and Comcast, discussing how tech leaders around the world had come together in unprecedented fashion to declare it time to turn on IPv6, together, all over the world. It was an ambitious plan. Only one year earlier the world had tested IPv6 on a global scale for the very first time. Now, the IP Industry was boldly declaring victory. No more tests, no more trials. IPv6 had left the laboratory — for good. It was now, or never.

Months before, at the towering headquarters of Comcast in a room high above downtown Philadelphia, the Internet Society organized one of the planning sessions for the World IPv6 Launch. With a sparkling backdrop of the earth’s horizon in the distance, representatives from the founding World IPv6 Launch participants (Akamai, AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, D-Link, Facebook, Free Telecom, Google, Internode, KDDI, Limelight, Bing, Time Warner Cable, XS4ALL and Yahoo!) discussed what it meant to “Launch” IPv6. There was a white board, with a hand drawn chart as our goal. We talked, argued, compromised, and ultimately came to consensus on how we could “move the needle”, and whether it was too bold a proposition to even try. We settled on 1% as an individual ISP goal, knowing that this value as measured from a content provider would correspond to more than a simple trial. Many ISPs reached, and exceeded, that by June 2012. A few months later, the world reached that goal.

I’m thrilled to see that, even a year later, end-to-end IPv6 adoption shows no measurable sign of stopping. IPv6 deployment has been doubling every 9 months since World IPv6 Day. Large scale DSL, Fiber, Cable, and Wireless deployments have joined Enterprises and Content providers across the world, stitching together a new Internet infrastructure. Fit Google’s global IPv6 deployment data to a logistic curve of technology adoption, and the 50% tipping point where IPv6 takes over IPv4 is only 5 years away.

IPv6 is not only important to the Internet of today, it is critical to the Internet of Everything to come. Working on IPv6 over the past several years has been exciting and rewarding in many ways. I have made a lot of good friends along the way, and am witnessing the birth of a New Internet Protocol first hand.

Happy First Birthday, World IPv6 Launch! May you have many, many, 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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US Federal Government Makes Huge Strides in IPv6 Deployment

The US Federal Government, like many large IT organizations  and other national governments recognizes the important of transition their networks to support IPv6. On Sept 2010 a memo on the transition to IPv6, was issued by then Federal CIO; Vivek Kundra, outlining the government’s commitment and rational behind expediting the operational deployment and use of IPv6.

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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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