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World IPv6 Day: Conclusions


World IPv6 Day proved to be a success. Major service providers and websites are ready for IPv6, but some experience response times lower than when using IPv4. Experts draw attention to a possible security flaw in IPv6 implementations.

The long anticipated event, World IPv6 Day, announced last year and recently by InfoQ, finally came and passed on June 8th. According to Internet Society (ISOC), the event organizer, more than 1,000 Internet service providers and websites, including Akamai, Facebook, Google, Limelight, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, attempted for 24 hours to see if they are ready for IPv6, and what problems might appear when IPv6 is enabled for many of their websites. The test demonstrated that “major websites around the world are well-positioned for the move to a global IPv6-enabled Internet, enabling its continued exponential growth”, according to ISOC, which concluded:

A key goal of World IPv6 Day was to expose potential issues with real-world IPv6 use under controlled conditions. Given the diversity of technology that powers the Internet, the global nature of the trial was crucial to identify unforeseen problems. The vast majority of users were able to access services as usual, but in rare cases, users experienced impaired access to participating websites during the trial.

The test ran without major difficulties, as news titles suggest: No news is good news on World IPv6 Day, Facebook: The Internet did not break, IPv6 Day Is Hailed As A Qualified Success. A few users complained they lacked Internet connectivity during the day, but the vast majority did not notice that major websites turned IPv6 on.

The IPv6 traffic is currently insignificant, evaluated at 0.34% by Google, the top generators being P2P applications (61%), followed by Web (4.6%) and SSH (4.6%), Netflix taking the spot with 20% of all IPv6 traffic, according to Arbor Networks, which monitored the IPv6 traffic. The data comes from “six Internet service providers who are capable of carrying both native and tunneled IPv6 traffic, and who have deployed fully IPV6-capable routers at their peering edges which can export traffic statistics for IPv6 traffic”. The following graphic shows how IPv6 traffic varied before the event and throughout the day:


RIPE NCC made their own measurements. One of them showed the relative speed of IPv6 PING RTT vs. IPv4. Among the 4 large websites, Yahoo! had the best IPv6 time (1.2) followed by Google (1.0), Facebook (0.9), and Bing (0.65). The following graph shows the relative IPv6/IPv4 RTT for Facebook, a value larger than 1.0 representing IPv6 is faster while a value lower than 1.0 indicates that IPv6 is slower than IPv4:


The test outlined a security issue due to a possible immature implementation of the IPv6 protocol. “A failure to properly accommodate the much longer address space in IPv6 by network vendors, security vendors, software makers are others can result in vulnerabilities such as buffer over flow flaws and those that enable denial of service attacks and address spoofing,” according to Noa Bar Yosef, senior security strategist with Imperva.

The data collected remains to be analyzed during the months ahead. World IPv6 Day has achieved its purpose: drawing attention to the need of IPv6, especially now that IPv4 addresses have run out, and testing IPv6 at the Internet level.

One can test his IPv6 readiness accessing the Test-IPv6 website.

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