Just how much IP V6 addressing is really in typical use out there?

I see that Linux/UNIX seems to be ready for this. But I don't see the readiness as much as the Windows side. Especially not for desktop user systems.

In my wanderings I have not seen IPV6 widely implemented or used.

Personally, I'm not quite thrilled with the addresses syntax as it is longer, and reminds me of MAC addresses with all the :'s.

Secondary question: Are we all ready to use IPV6 in our daily lives?


15 Answers 15


OS support is probably not the concern. Vista, XP, Solaris 10 and Linux all support IPv6, and the root DNS servers have all been updated to support AAAA records.

There are three things that are more likely to act as barriers to adoption.

  • Network support: Upgrading infrastructure to support IPv6 is a massive undertaking. It probably won't be complete for years. Until then, there will be a need to tunnel; initially, IPv6 tunneled over IPv4; eventually the reverse as the IPv6 connected network becomes larger than the IPv4.

  • Application support: In a perfect world, most consumer facing applications shouldn't care about Layer 3; that's what DNS is for. Unfortunately, there are plenty of applications out there written with IP addresses hardcoded into them, that use IP addresses in their data structures, etc. Re-writing or replacing these tools will also take a very long time.

  • NAT: One of the main design goals of IPv6 was to overcome the depletion of IPv4 space. Unfortunately, before IPv6 could be finalised and implemented, NAT combined with RFC 1918 address space provided a way for companies and individuals to connect large numbers of devices to the public internet without the need for registered address space. Like it or loathe it, NAT has grown from a stop-gap solution to a 'feature' of IPv4, with people even relying upon it for security. More discussion can be found in this question.

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    see also serverfault.com/questions/1161/… – Alnitak May 2 '09 at 22:50
  • +1 for network support. I have searched in vain periodically over the past year to find a consumer- or small business-grade (and -priced!) firewall-router that supports IPv6. Also, my area's telephone company does not provide any IPv6 DSL capability under any service plan as far as I can tell. – Jay Michaud Jun 1 '09 at 2:30
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    Although the vast majority of "good" carriers have IPv6 deployed through their core and out to their high-end customers, deploying v6 through PPPoE and other DSL methods is ugly as the "PD" (Prefix Delegation) support is still in draft stages. – LapTop006 Jun 11 '09 at 2:57
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    @Jay Michaud: most of the mid-range (and higher) consumer-grade routers can be loaded with alternative (but solid) firmware which has IPv6 support (e.g. I have great experiences with DD-WRT on various not-really-expensive home routers). Although it's not something that I'd suggest for Aunt Tilly to try (and it won't work for the absolutely cheapest models due to memory constraints or chipset problems), for a techie it's a relatively painless upgrade (which also gives the device many other capabilities beside IPv6). – Piskvor left the building May 12 '11 at 10:14

From Microsoft's IPv6 page:

Support for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), a new suite of standard protocols for the Network layer of the Internet, is built into the latest versions of Microsoft Windows, which include Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP with Service Pack 2, Windows XP with Service Pack 1, Windows XP Embedded SP1, and Windows CE .NET.

That doesn't sound too bad to me. Admittedly it doesn't say how well it's supported, but that's a different matter.

As for actual use: not a lot, in my experience.


It's out there, it just takes a smidge more effort since many upstream providers aren't pushing it out. For organization level, setting up a SIXXS tunnel to a routing device (BSD box works well) is fairly simple. For an individual Windows user, setting up a Hexago tunnel is a no-brainer. IPv6 is becoming quite accessible now and I usually find that I get better performance from the IPv6 versions of sites, despite having the extra hops through a tunnel.


According to stats of the AMS-IX, the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (one of the bigger global internet exchanges), the current volume of IPv6 traffic they're processing is around 1 Gbit/s average (graph), on a average total traffic (IPv4 + IPv6) of 436 Gbit/s (graph).

So, traffic levels are still at about 0.23% of IPv4. In the past year IPv6 traffic through AMS-IX has increased about 1000%, but there's still a long way to go.

My medium-sized webdev company has deployed IPv6 locally and remotely. Locally through a SixXs provided tunnel and subnet, and remotely through native IPv6 provided by our hosting provider. In my experience, a lot of companies are working on it, and will help you if you ask them.

It's quite easy, once you know how IPv6 works, to deploy it. The big problem is the chicken and egg dilemma, and convincing management to let you deploy it. I'm glad my company allowed me to spend time on it. I was able to convince them that as a webdev company we need to be 'enablers' and be ready for upcoming technologies. Therefore, to push IPv6 now allows us to work out the kinks before our customers start asking.


Google has implemented IPv6 on there search services and is available already to those with IPv6 Connections.


Most newer network hardware contains support for IPv6, as do most modern operating systems and a number of other applications (browsers, ftp clients, etc.) as well. But many routers in use (including, I believe, most wireless routers) do not. There would need to be an awful lot of hardware replacement before IPv6 really takes hold.

If they've done it right, using IPv6 in our daily lives should be transparent (to users, anyway, not so much for developers of network appliances or software).


It is still in the early adoption phase certainly, but there is starting to be a lot of movement because the wall at the end of ipv4 becoming more visible. For our part (a small regional ISP), it's rather like moving from a studio apartment to a large estate. While we're still in the early stages ourselves, it's already clear it's going to make some aspects of network management easier with extra the breathing room.


Pertaining to question #1: Not much, really. Microsoft drives IPv6 adoption at the moment (for shame it has to be them, but there you go.)

Pertaining to question #2: No, we're not.

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    what on earth makes you think that MS are "driving IPv6 adoption"?! For sure, there's support in the O/S, but at all of the IETF etc meetings I go to it's certainly not MS banging the IPv6 drum. – Alnitak May 2 '09 at 22:30
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    The obvious reason - Microsoft's dominant market position. OS support means jack diddly squat if the OS only represents 1% or 5% or 10% of deployments. By properly integrating IPv6 support in Vista and slowly pushing it on the server side via WHS and Server 2008 they are actually creating an use case which will eventually force ISPs to support IPv6 too. I'm personally annoyed that it's Microsoft who is providing the turning point, but that's life. – Mihai Limbăşan May 2 '09 at 22:39
  • I'm sorry, but IMNSHO that's complete crap. The most significant driving force behind IPv6 is the realisation that we really are going to run out of IPv4 addresses soon. NANOG, IETF, RIPE, ICANN meetings - all of them have IPv6 high on the agenda, and that's what'll get IPv6 deployed in the core, not pressure from end users. – Alnitak May 2 '09 at 22:48
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    I'm sorry, but that is complete crap. In theory, you are right, we are all a big, happy, rational, forward-thinking family. In practice, no reponsible sysadmin will for the time being bother to spend company resources on IPv6 because of the chicken-and-egg problem - if you are able to justify the expense of being IPv6 ready to your accounting department knowing full well that your ISP does not support IPv6 and will not do so in the next couple of years at least, then you are nothing short of a magician. Or, to rephrase it, you must be on a really, really big budget. The rest of us, not. – Mihai Limbăşan May 2 '09 at 23:02
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    The reason being, you see, that an IT manager does not give a flying /sbin/fsck about IEFT, NANOG, RIPE, and any other task force acronym you might care about. An IT manager thinks about either the bottom line, her/his yearly bonus, or both. And currently IPv6 adoption will cost you money with no tangible benefit over the next couple of years, not to speak about this Christmas. That's an easy decision - "we'll cross that bridge when we get there", which in real world terms translates to "not unless the server room is on fire." – Mihai Limbăşan May 2 '09 at 23:05

You can find a shed load of information about IPv6, including penetration statistics, at http://icons.apnic.net/display/IPv6/Home


I have seen very little implementation of IPv6 outside the Mac OS X nodes on my home LAN, and even then, my router doesn't support IPv6, so it amounts to nothing.

Are we ready? Sure. But I don't think it's going to be an easy transition. And you're quite right in saying that the unwieldy addressing scheme will more or less mandate host name resolution, even on a small network (Netbios, Bonjour, etc).

Router manufacturers adopted "draft 802.11n" because it was faster. Faster means something to the consumer. Try to tell them that your new, more expensive router supports IPv6 on the other hand...

Incidentally, Mac OS X has supported IPv6 since 2002 with 10.2 Jaguar (cite http://www.join.uni-muenster.de/Implementationen/Betriebsysteme.php?lang=en ).


The hardware support for IPv6 just isn't there. Too many consumer hardware (think home routers, PDAs, network phones etc.) do not have IPv6 support build into them, and the average Joe is not going to see a reason to throw out their hardware and buy new ones unless it is forced on them (if IPv4 stopped working one day). Neither are small ISPs ready to do the transition.

Using a public IPv6 tunnel is slow, and not enough applications benefit from the use IPv6 to justify the extra effort.

  • I have found the speed of a tunnel to be quite acceptable, as long as the tunnel endpoint is reasonably close (latency wise). – Martijn Heemels Jun 10 '09 at 22:08

I think that you'll see a big upswing in IPv6 utilization when Windows 7 ships. The Direct Access feature solves alot of mobility problems in the enterprise.


route-server.he.net says: 527801 IPv4 RIB entries, but 3653 IPv6 RIB entries. If I'm parsing quagga's output right, they're seeing 1894 IPv6 prefixes advertised versus ~ 283k IPv4 prefixes, so quite a difference. (No idea how many AS numbers on each this equates to -- the number of IPv6 prefixes an AS has will likely be somewhat smaller than the number of IPv4 ones.)

Also, a new data point: Verizon: LTE devices must support IPv6. Granted, VZW was all over BREW, and that never went anywhere, but BREW had no reason for anyone but the carrier to support it.

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    Even when fully deployed IPv6 should remain well below v4 route numbers as almost every AS (bar the largest carriers) will be advertising only a single prefix (once filters hit). – LapTop006 Jun 11 '09 at 2:59

Back in 1996, the Internet grew 1500% (that's right, one thousand five hundred percent) and the newspapers were full of talk about the Information Highway being here and now. Today, the data that we have about IPv6 Internet traffic indicates that it is far bigger than the whole Internet was back in 1997, after that 1500% growth spurt. Some people sneer at a measly Gigabit of traffic but they are forgetting that the IPv6 Internet is still in a baby stage. For a baby, that Gig is darn good.

Lots of network operators now have IPv6 trials in place with actual IPv6 customers, mostly corporates who want to be prepared for IPv4 exhaustion in 2011. So that traffic is a lot of testing various different use cases in preparation for switching over when the time comes. You can expect a veritable firehose of traffic to appear once the switchover begins in earnest.


So, there may not be much v6 on the public internet... but there's a LOT of it out there that isn't. For example, every 3G phone call is VoIP over IPv6. Fairly soon there will be a suite of standards out there for automating the electricity grid, and those will all be based on IPv6 only... so if you want to be able to talk to your electricity meter, you will need v6.

As for firewall/routers, well, the latest version of Shorewall has a good v6 firewall implementation, so a suitably sized linux box will work fine for that application. If you're tunneling, it could even be virtualised.

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