Shifting Trends in IPv6 Adoption
Despite its astronomically larger address space, little interest in
adopting IPv6 has been shown in the five years since its standardization.
Network Address Translation (NAT) and deployment of private IPv4 addresses
have slowed the depletion of IPv4 addresses while IPv6 was being developed.
In fact, NAT was so effective in slowing the rate of IPv4 address allocation
that in many quarters – particularly in the United States –
doubt grew over whether transitioning to IPv6 would ever be necessary.
It seems that doubt was unwarranted and the trend toward network convergence
has rekindled the need for IPv6.
We think there are three reasons for this:
- Planned services and devices: The intention to provide a wide array
of IP services to a vast number of customers, plus plans for perhaps billions
of new network-enabled devices from mobile phones to home appliances to
entertainment systems, will create a demand for IP addresses that IPv4
- Multiple service profiles to a single location: Multi-service offerings
to a home or office will require varying levels of quality and security.
In your home, you might be having a telephone conversation, while your
spouse is conducting a video conference with clients, your daughter is
watching a movie, and your son is playing a video game – all over
the same IP connection from the same service provider. If these multiple
applications require different levels of quality and security, they cannot
work together through a NAT device. And, if NAT is taken out of the picture,
the conservation of IP addresses is undermined.
- New markets: The expansion of service offerings to existing customers
by itself represents a big demand for new IP addresses. When developing
regions of the world with enormous populations and rapidly expanding economies
– China and India being prime examples – are taken into account,
IPv4 becomes entirely insufficient. The population of the People's Republic
of China alone – some 1.3 billion people – is larger than
the number of remaining, unallocated IPv4 addresses.
There’s another issue impacting IPv6 adoption. Where American interest
in IPv6 was lukewarm at best as recently as two years ago, most of the
larger telcos, ISPs, and MSOs are now acknowledging that IPv6 is in their
future. Some are in the early exploratory stages, while many already have
firm transition plans in place. A few are actively implementing IPv6.
The change of attitude toward IPv6 in the U.S. can be attributed to three
- An acknowledgement of the serious efforts taking place in Asia: American
operators are feeling the need to stay competitive with their Asian counterparts.
- The aggressive IPv6 transition plans of several branches of the federal
government: The government is a huge customer of IP services, and service
providers understand that they must support IPv6 if they want to keep
or gain federal agencies as customers.
- Growing multi-service plans: As service providers plan multiple service
offerings, they are seeing that IPv4 – even private 10/8 address
space – will not support projected addressing requirements.
Clearly, the convergence of these factors will have a significant impact
on accelerating the adoption of IPv6. For more information on IPv6, including
Global Crossing’s industry-leading global implementation, please
visit our IP
Knowledge Center or look for us at the IPv6