IPv6 had a pretty impressive year in 2015. The adoption rate climbed from 5% globally to 10% in a single year according to statistics from Google. You can check out some of that information at https://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/statistics.html
For the United States, which is part of the ARIN region, the numbers are even more impressive. The US is currently at 25% and growing. Given the impact the US has on technology and business, this isn’t a minor trend you can afford to ignore.
What does that actually mean? It means for the US, 1 out of 4 users on the Internet today have perfectly usable IPv6. So let’s speculate a bit about what could happen with IPv6 in 2016 how it could meaningfully impact you.
- The IPv6 adoption rate will continue to grow, both worldwide and in the US
- IPv6 growth worldwide will outpace the US
- Major public cloud providers will support IPv6 (Amazon, Microsoft, and Google)
- Security products will pick up the pace of supporting IPv6 in more meaningful ways
- Enterprises will finally dip their toes into the water of learning and testing IPv6
So let’s dig into each of these a bit more.
I think it is pretty obvious with the given trends that the overall growth of IPv6 will not slow down so stating that one is sort of a cheat. The curve isn’t flattening out because the mobile and residential providers aren’t going to stop their deployment of IPv6. Clearly, 2016 will be another year of major IPv6 adoption.
I do think that the rest of the world will start adopting IPv6 at a faster rate than the US but I don’t think that major shift will happen until the 3rd quarter of the year. Why? I actually think the Summer 2016 Olympics will hold back some international adoption. It will be due to the fear of experiencing delivery issues for that worldwide event possibly caused by deployment of IPv6 alongside IPv4 (these fears are largely unfounded). It will be the first Olympics that will have more viewers online verses watching via television and I have not heard any specific plans by Brazil to make the content and streams available over IPv6. This is likely a lost opportunity for IPv6 adoption but not a huge surprise. LACNIC has done a tremendous job of helping all Latin American countries adopt IPv6 so I hope I am wrong on this one and the Olympics stream on both IPv4 and IPv6 natively from Brazil.
However, because Netflix has released their product for worldwide consumption and Netflix supports IPv6 it will help drive more service providers to adopt IPv6. In addition, Facebook, Google, YouTube and LinkedIn will help drive IPv6 as that content is of increasing importance to the international market. All these companies have aggressive expansion plans and these align with the need for service providers to adopt IPv6 in order to provider a superior experience to these properties. Facebook has provided some interesting numbers around how IPv6 providers a faster experience for users – especially for those on mobile networks. See Paul Saab’s article on IPv6 verses IPv4 performance: https://code.facebook.com/posts/1192894270727351/ipv6-it-s-time-to-get-o
Check out Eric Vyncke’s website for statistics on global IPv6 adoption at https://www.vyncke.org/ipv6status/
Also, take a look at Tom Coffeen’s article to see more about the adoption of IPv6 versus IPv4.
Public cloud service providers have had difficulty adopting IPv6. This is demonstrated because the market leaders (AWS, Azure, and Google Compute Engine) do not yet support IPv6* (Also check out Tom Coffeen’s article on IPv6 and Cloud. This is due to a variety of issues around when their initial cloud architecture was built, when their software was written, challenges around testing and refactoring their software plus customer demand. All major cloud providers realize the days of IPv4 being their core protocol are coming to an end. They all have roadmaps of adopting and are actively working on IPv6. The timing will vary but I believe it will be in the 4th quarter where all the major public cloud providers will have IPv6 support or a significant announcement of major services supporting IPv6.
To date, the laggard in IPv6 adoption has been the corporate enterprise. The impact of US adoption to date will start driving some changes in enterprise (remember, a quarter of all traffic on the Internet is IPv6 today). Specifically, mobile sales team and home teleworkers will likely help drive the decision about supporting IPv6 natively. In addition, enterprise customers, partners and support teams will start needing IPv6 interfaces to work as well as their IPv4 solutions work today. This will mean that enterprises will start learning and testing IPv6 in some specific use cases. They will turn up the Internet edge so they have IPv6 available if they need it. They will enable IPv6 for some services like a website or a VPN gateway. I don’t think there will be enterprise-wide IPv6 adoption in 2016 – that is just too fast for many enterprises – but I do think most of them will start with a small test or pilot IPv6 project.
So there you go, my 2016 IPv6 predictions. Am I right? We won’t know for another year but I do feel 2016 will bring us much further past the “elbow on the hockey stick” for IPv6!
You can find me on twitter as @ehorley and remember…
IPv6 is the future and the future is now!
* AWS classic mode did have some IPv6 support in their load balancer but it did not carry forward to the current VPC mode