I had the privilege of presenting at the BT Centre in London at the Annual UK IPv6 Council meeting this week to talk about better operational outcomes through network design. The goal of my presentation was to start a conversation in the community around what operators need in terms of IPv6 network architecture and design to make their lives’ better. . If you want to check out the presentation I delivered at this event it has been posted up to YouTube already.
The event was excellent with useful and interesting content throughout the day. While this event did not have a theme like the North American IPv6 Summit does, the content was a great cross-section of what is happening in IPv6 today. The agenda for the event was as follows:
Welcome and UK IPv6 Council Status Update (Veronika McKillop – Chair of the UK IPv6 Council)
UK ISP Updates: BT/EE, A&A, Hyperoptic, BBC
Jim Bound IPv6 Awards (ISP’s with greater than 20% subscriber base using IPv6)
The Importance of IPv6 for 5G (Professor Misha Dohler, King’s College London)
Better IPv6 Operational Outcome through Network Design (Ed Horley, Groupware Technology) – My presentation
IPv6 @ FB: From the NIC to the Edge (Mikel Jimenez, Facebook)
IPv6 Multihoming from the IETF perspective (Eric Vyncke, Cisco)
IPv6 Deployment at Cosmote Greece (Georgios Manousakis, Cosmote)
Why is IPv6 Security so hard? (Enno Rey, ERNW)
Experience from delivering IPv6 training courses and the usual blockers of IPv6 deployment (Dr. David Holder, Erion)
Discussion with audience about challenges to deploying IPv6 in small business and enterprise environments (Dr. David Holder, Veronika McKillop)
I wanted to take some space to talk about some of the presentations (you can find all of them to view online) and my thoughts on what was presented. I think the message was clear that the UK has made significant progress on IPv6 adoption. The ISP subscriber numbers that are using IPv6 has steadily grown over the last few years and the UK ISP update supported this fact. The rollouts are moving forward and it appears 2018 will continue the growth pattern. What was particularly interesting was Dr. David Holder presenting the actual Alexa numbers and some other UK adoption breakdowns at the end of the day. These reflected a harsher reality of IPv6 adoption that is not service provider or mobile operator based. It seems that across the board adoption is at around 3%. I find this more in line with what I think is also happening in the United States. There are two sets of statistics that reflect what is going on and the IPv6 community tends to point to only the larger growth numbers while not acknowledging our failures in other areas. Clearly enterprise, small business and many other business markets and government are not adopting IPv6. While I am an optimist, I think it is foolish not to acknowledge the real hurdles that IPv6 faces so that solutions that address these objections can be developed.
If you get the opportunity to watch the Facebook IPv6 presentation, do so. It was interesting and insightful to hear how a true engineering-lead organization thinks about IPv6. Mikel gave some great insights into some of the design decisions FB makes around sizing, planning and how they change the behaviors of their application and operational teams around IPv6.
Eric Vyncke gave a very interesting presentation on some of the drafts moving through the IETF right now to help address multihoming for smaller business when multihoming with BGP and Provider Independent (PI) space really isn’t practical. The solution is novel, but I think it may take too long to adopt in many operating systems. I hope I am wrong but given we don’t have a single OS at the time of this article that supports RFC 8106 (IPv6 Router Advertisement Options for DNS Configuration) yet I don’t hold my breath around adding this draft to the list anytime soon. Eric’s presentation was noteworthy because it is clear that the IETF is finally trying to address shortcomings that the IPv6 protocol has in it that were operationally relatively easy to do in IPv4. I think this is important and I hope to continue to see this sort of effort in the IETF. Maybe there is hope that Android will finally add DHCPv6 client support to allow enterprises to manage address assignments the way they do with IPv4. Or at least we can hope.
A highlight for me was getting to hear Enno Rey present on IPv6 Security. While we have interacted for many years on Twitter we have never formally meet in person. I finally got to shake Enno’s hand, say thank you for all the wonderful work his company has done around IPv6 Security. We got to chat around many interesting aspects of IPv6 and how operational differences in IPv6 can make security that much harder. Enno is a wealth of IPv6 knowledge and I suggest for those who are interested in IPv6 Security to follow him on twitter and read his blog posts on the topic. He is a great addition to the likes of Scott Hogg and Eric Vyncke around IPv6 Security.
Dr. David Holder gave a sobering presentation on the state of IPv6 and the disconnect between the IPv6 community and business leaders who rely on networks to operate their businesses day to day. It is clear that our community is not far enough along in having true business cases that are relatable for business leaders to make informed decisions around IPv6 adoption and their potential impact to their long-term business outcomes. I think there are some important lessons to be learned from David in this area and we should be standardizing around some of his experiences to help move the community forward.
I had a delightful time participating, presenting and listening to all the great IPv6 content at this event. If you get a chance to participate in the future I highly recommend you do so. The venue was great, the people were warm and gracious and everyone was interested in talking IPv6, what more can you ask for?
I look forward to future UK events and many thanks to Veronika McKillop for the invitation to speak at the event.
You can find me on twitter as @ehorley and remember…
IPv6 is the future and the future is now!