Thursday, August 20, 2015

BT survey indicates movement on IPv6 deployments

We recently invited network engineers to participate in an online industry survey to characterize opinions and attitudes about IPv6 deployment in their networks. We’ve conducted this survey for five years running now, and we’ve observed a steady climb in the proportion of survey participants who have deployed or were actively deploying IPv6. This year’s survey didn’t disappoint, as we saw continued IPv6 deployment progress with over half of survey participants indicating they had deployed or were in the process of deploying IPv6. This tally represented a fifteen percent higher proportion that in last year’s survey.

Deploying IPv6 is necessary for organizations to continue to communicate with all users on the “total Internet,” which is slowly evolving from a homogeneous IPv4 Internet to a mixed protocol IPv4-IPv6 Internet. Evidence of such an evolution is visible from various industry measurements, such as the proportion of Google users accessing their sites via IPv6 and’s measurements of IPv6 use globally and by country for web and email servers and DNS.

In the face of evaporating of IPv4 address space availability, growth of the Internet is accelerating due to new Internet users, new and multiple mobile devices for Internet users, and non-user devices or “things” spurring the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT). Internet accessibility for these users and things will by necessity require IPv6.

Unfortunately IPv4 and IPv6 are not interoperable, so organizations desiring to communicate with these users and things, members of today’s growing total Internet, must support both IPv4 and IPv6. In fact, three of four survey respondents agreed that continued global Internet presence was a key benefit to deploying IPv6. And most survey respondents deploying IPv6 use a dual stack approach to enable Internet reachability via either protocol for their web, email and other Internet-reachable application servers.

Survey results also yielded some interesting shifts in attitudes about IPv6. As the reality of IPv4 address space exhaustion materializes, organizations are becoming more accepting of the need for IPv6 and are increasingly bullish about IPv6’s benefits and value.  For example, survey respondents from organizations that have or are deploying IPv6 recognized as top benefits offering a competitive advantage, supporting IoT initiatives, spurring innovative applications, and enabling a continued global Internet presence.

This year’s survey once again signified that the inability to demonstrate a strong business case was the leading obstacle to IPv6 deployment, followed by the complexity of infrastructure upgrades, conversion of applications or middleware, and staff training. These concerns represent a shift away from networking focused issues from past surveys to those of practical implementation and support, another indicator of attitude shift favoring deployment.

BT’s IPv6 survey findings and public IPv6 measurements corroborate increasing IPv6 deployment worldwide. We’d recommend that organizations that rely on Internet communications for ubiquitous Internet access to resources, collaboration, or commerce start planning for IPv6 deployment if they haven’t done so already. And BT can help along the way, with Advise services to assist with IPv6 deployment planning, execution and management and IP address management (IPAM) solutions from Diamond IP to enable IPv4-IPv6 address planning, discovery and management.  We invite you to review our full survey results and analysis in our survey report.