One year on from the World IPv6 Launch in June 2012, we wanted to see how much progress has been made towards the goal of global IPv6 deployment.

Both APNIC and Google are carrying out measurements at the end user level, which show that around 1.29% (APNIC) and 1.48% (Google) of end users are capable of accessing the IPv6 Internet. Measurements taken from this time last year show 0.49% (APNIC) and 0.72% (Google), which means the amount of IPv6-enabled end users has more than doubled in the past 12 months.

Rather than looking at the end user, the measurements the RIPE NCC conducts look at the networks themselves. To what extent are network operators engaging with IPv6? And how ready are they to deploy it on their networks?

IPv6 RIPEness

The RIPE NCC measures the IPv6 "readiness" of LIRs in its service region by awarding stars based on four indicators. LIRs receive stars when:

  • They receive an initial allocation of IPv6 address space from the RIPE NCC
  • The IPv6 address space is visible in global routing
  • There is a route6 object registered in the RIPE Database
  • Reverse DNS has been set up for the IPv6 address space

The pie charts here show the number of LIRs holding 0-4 RIPEness stars at the time of the World IPv6 Launch in June 2012, and the number today.

The first RIPEness star is awarded when the LIR receives an allocation of IPv6 address space. When we look at the charts above, we see that the number of LIRs without an IPv6 allocation has decreased from 50% at the time of the World IPv6 Launch to 39% today.

One factor that shouldn't be overlooked here is that the current IPv4 policy requires that an LIR receive an initial IPv6 allocation before it can receive its last /22 of IPv4 address space. However, this does not explain the increase in 2-4 star RIPEness, which can only come from LIRs working towards IPv6 deployment.

Five-Star RIPEness

At the recent RIPE 66 Meeting in Dublin, we presented the results from our introduction of a fifth RIPEness star, which is still in the prototype stage. This fifth star measures actual deployment of IPv6. It looks at whether LIRs are providing content over IPv6 and the degree to which they are providing IPv6 access to end users. More information on the fifth star and the methodology behind it can be found on RIPE Labs. In this first version, 573 LIRs in the RIPE NCC service region qualify for the fifth star, which represents 6.24% of all LIRs in the region.

The Day We Crossed Over

Coincidentally, the World IPv6 Launch was around the same time as another milestone for the RIPE NCC service region. It was roughly then that the number of LIRs with IPv6 allocations outnumbered those without IPv6 for the first time. This number has continued to increase, and there are currently 5,630 LIRs with IPv6 and 3,584 without.

The blue line on the graph here represents LIRs with an IPv6 allocation, while the red line indicates those with no IPv6.

ASNs Announcing IPv6

One of the things the RIPE NCC regularly checks is the percentage of autonomous networks announcing one or more IPv6 prefixes into the global routing system. This is an important step before a network can begin exchanging IPv6 traffic with other networks.

When we take a global view using the graph, we see that in the year since the World IPv6 Launch, the percentage of networks announcing IPv6 has increased from 13.7% to 16.1%. Of the 44,470 autonomous networks visible on the global Internet, 7,168 are currently announcing IPv6.

When we adopt a regional perspective, one of the things we would hope to see is increasing IPv6 deployment in those regions where the free pool of IPv4 has been exhausted. It is reassuring to see this confirmed — both the APNIC and the RIPE NCC service regions are leading the way, with 20.0% and 18.1% (respectively) of networks announcing IPv6.

The table here compares the percentage of autonomous networks announcing IPv6 — both now and at the time of the World IPv6 Launch in 2012.

The RIPE NCC's graph of IPv6-Enabled Networks shows this as a comparison over time and allows for comparisons between countries and regions.

Reassuring, But The Real Work Is Still Ahead

While the above statistics provide good cause for optimism, there is still a long way to go. Now, more than ever, network operators need to learn about IPv6 and deploy it on their networks in order to safeguard the future growth of the Internet. To find out more about IPv6, visit IPv6ActNow.

By Mirjam Kuehne



To succeed in today's technology driven environment, businesses need to remain up-to-date with the latest technology. One such technology is Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), the latest revision of the Internet Protocol (IP). To prepare tomorrow's workforce for the future demand for IPv6 skills, local universities and polytechnics have been training and equipping their students with the necessary IPv6 skills.

These skills were put to the test in the first-ever "IPv6 Innovation Challenge", organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), held on 15 March. IPv6 is a new 128-bit protocol that can support a potentially unlimited number of Internet addresses. With the aim of fostering creativity and demonstrating possibilities for future Internet-based services, the competition attracted teams from Singapore tertiary institutions, who presented their ideas on how the latest version of IP can be leveraged for both businesses and day-to-day life.

The challenge received over 20 proposals and 11 teams were shortlisted to present during the finals. The winners were:

Champion: T-Swift from Temasek Polytechnic (Project: Switching to IPv6 with OpenFlow Technology (SWIFT))

Runner-up: The Socializers from Singapore Polytechnic (Project: Tander Bear)

Second runner-up: INE from Temasek Polytechnic (Project: iPolice)

Ipv6 innovation challenge

T-Swift, the team that clinched top spot, introduced SWIFT – a novel networking solution that uses OpenFlow (a protocol that configures network switches) technology to facilitate the migration of current IPv4 connections to IPv6 for small and medium enterprises. By integrating OpenFlow switches to existing networks, businesses can migrate to IPv6 with minimal disruption, reducing the cost and manpower demands of migration.

The second place winner, The Socialisers, introduced a social-networked teddy bear that enables its owners to communicate non-verbal affections at different locations. The bears communicate using the IPv6 protocol whenever the embedded sensors are activated, allowing the bear to interpret and react to emotions. The inspiration for this team started out with an aim to enable non-verbal communication over long distances.

INE, which came in third, developed a mobile application to help fight crime. The iPolice application leveraged on IPv6 capabilities such as larger address availability, direct peer-to-peer connectivity and IPv6 multicasting to assist the Singapore Police Force to respond more quickly to situations. iPolice can be used by citizens to alert police officers in the vicinity of a crime.

One of the judges said this event provided an opportunity for the students to learn and inspire local industry professionals. Mr Vincent Lim, Chairman of Telecommunications Standards Technical Committee, said, "We are searching for an impactful IPv6 driver to provide a common pull factor for all stakeholders, including content providers, hardware and software vendors and end users. This event provided a good platform to kick start the development of innovative applications, projects and ideas to showcase the merit of deploying IPv6 and discovering the driver."

This event was not only an opportunity for fresh minds to explore possibilities but also for the industry to tap into the new ideas from these young talents. Dr Latif Ladid, President of IPv6 Forum (Global), explained, "The Singapore IPv6 Innovation Challenge is oriented to the academic world, which is usually more willing to openly share their fresh perspectives on new applications and designs that go beyond the industry's short-term view."

Besides demonstrating IPv6 innovations, the event drew some approving nods from global bigwigs, such as Mr. Kelly Brazil, Palo Alto Networks' Director of System Engineering, APAC, who was also one of the judges. He conveyed his excitement at seeing "some terrific submissions that showed a true entrepreneurial appetite signalling a bright future for the participants."

Several teams got the chance to share the marketing plans for their applications with the industry, while the winning teams of the IPv6 Innovation Challenge took home cash prizes ranging from $1,000 to $4,000.



The ‘Internet of Things’ represents an ambitious ideal in which everyday objects we’d never imagined to be worth connecting are introduced to the global network. In such a world, turning on a stove, scheduling a television recording, or setting an alarm would be as simple as accessing a home management portal on a smartphone while driving home from work.

It may sound like a pipe dream, but the realisation of a completely automated lifestyle may be far closer than we think.

According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, the number of devices connected to IP networks will be nearly three times as high as the global population in 2016. By the same date, non-PC Internet traffic is expected to rise from 22% to 31%, with smart televisions and tablet devices accounting for the majority of this growth.

Naturally, each of these devices will require its own IP address – a reality that’s swiftly becoming a major stumbling block for many operators.

An IP mountain

Recently, Brainstorm published a concerning report on the diminishing range of Internet protocol version 4 (IPv4) routing addresses available to global service providers.

Developed in the 1980s, IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses to direct Internet traffic. This standard makes provision for 4 294 967 296 (2 raised to power 32) possible unique addresses. The majority of these have already been claimed.

Although a new standard offering greater capacity – IPv6 – is gradually being adopted, local service providers have been slow to respond.

This, says local telecommunications provider BWired’s CTO Willie Olivier, has placed South African Internet users in a precarious position.

“We have a serious problem in South Africa. Most networks continue to operate using IPv4 addresses and are adopting IPv6 far too slowly.

“As I understand it, the last range of IPv4 addresses for the local market has now been issued. To compensate, many service providers are mapping current IPv4 addresses to IPv6 via network gateways. Although this is an acceptable short-term solution, it slows connection speeds and erodes the end-user experience.”

We have a serious problem in South Africa. Most networks continue to operate using IPv4 addresses and are adopting IPv6 far too slowly.

According to Olivier, South African operators are not yet ready to truly embrace IPv6, despite claims to the contrary.

“Most operators have said they’re prepared for IPv6, but I have yet to see a service provider implementing it successfully across a broad network. As IPv4 addresses begin to diminish, it’s imperative we prepare accordingly.”

Due to the public nature of the IPv6 standard, many operators have cited network security as a real concern – particularly within the mobile environment, says Olivier.

Security should also be the end-user’s responsibility.

“Most service providers are concerned about how IPv6 will affect network security. Unlike IPv4, all addresses issued on the new standard are public. Many people view IPv4 and IPv6 as similar in nature, but they’re considerably different.”

The solution, says Olivier, is not to avoid IPv6 entirely, but to encourage end-user awareness of network security threats.

“Stifling IPv6 adoption is not the answer. Service providers need to ensure that users understand the dangers associated with risky behaviour. Security should also be the end-user’s responsibility.”

BWired is nearing the completion of its first high-speed fibre network. Snaking its way through the beating heart of Johannesburg’s metropolitan cityscape, the system is expected to support the emergence of several innovative services upon its go-live date in July 2013.

Other networks of a similar nature currently being rolled out or extended by the likes of Neotel, Dark Fibre Africa or Broadband Infraco would further support such technologies.

Deal breaker

This, says Olivier, could see services such as IPtv and mobile home automation emerge far more swiftly than analysts might have anticipated. A lack in IPv6 readiness, however, may be a deal breaker.

“I think we’re heading for a very exciting time. We’ve all been talking about this for a while and I foresee converged technology usage in South Africa becoming a reality in the near future.

“The influx of devices is not going to stop. It’s absolutely essential that service providers have their ducks in a row before sluggish IPv6 adoption becomes a serious issue,” says Olivier.

With metropolitan fibre networks and exciting new technologies on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time before the ‘Internet of Things’ becomes a local reality. Will IPv6 be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Time will surely tell.

IPv6 a necessity, not a luxury

The ‘Internet of Things’ may be much closer than each of us had anticipated. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, there will be nearly three networked devices per capita in 2016, up from over one networked device per capita in 2011.

Although this growth is expected to lead to advancements in technologies such as IPtv and home automation, it will be at the price of an IP address per connection. Current IPv4 standards simply cannot support this requirement. Operators need to view IPv6 adoption as an immediate necessity, not a luxury, believes BWired CTO Willie Olivier.

By Tom Manner




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