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back to article World IPv6 Day fails to kill the internet

World IPv6 Day was the non-event everybody hoped it would be. For 24 hours yesterday, more than 400 major internet companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, joined in with the largest-scale production test of the next generation Internet Protocol to date. Organised by the Internet Society, the project was intended to …

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Boffin

I've said it before..

... and I'll say it again.

End users won't switch over because (apart from a few geeks who'd like an internet-enabled toaster with its own public IP address), there's no perceived benefit for them.

The only way users will willingly switch is if there is a must-have service that they can't access with ipV4 and I can't see that happening any time soon.

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Holmes

IPv6's must-have service

How's about "continued access to the internet"?

Once all the v4 addresses are gone, they're gone. This doesn't just mean that home users will have to pay through the nose for a static IP from their ISP, but there won't be any more public IP addresses to give out, even to businesses. The internet will either stop growing, or the usage of BIG HACKS - such as using swathes of non-private IP address ranges behind dirty great NATs - will increase to the point where nobody can reliably route traffic to anyone else.

IPv6's killer app is the continued growth of the Internet. What more does it need?

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Facepalm

ah...

Except that's not the way it's going to happen is it?

No one with any business sense is going to set up a commercial service as ipv6 only since the existing customer base is almost all ipv4. ISPs are not willingly going to say, "sorry we can't connect you, we've run out of addresses', have ipv6 and only connect to a part of the net."

We're going to get the ISPs running NAT and address reclamation schemes to enable continued growth of the net. That's the reality. The nice shiny ipv6 future that some people image is just a dream.

There is no practical way to convert existing users. ISPs can't turn round and say '"right, three months from now you'll have ipv6 instead'" A large percentage of home routers can't handle it, and even if the ISPs gave away ipv6 routers (like that will happen), imagine the support nightmare of reconfiguring all the consumer computers out there.

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Stop

Dual stack

This is entirely the point of using a dual stack. You're right - nobody will set up IPv6 *only*, but every provider *should* adopt the dual stack approach, and the majority *will* do so sooner rather than later.

Home users will be given IPv4 addresses from the existing pools of addresses that exist, hopefully alongside IPv6 addresses being added. New and old ISPs alike will find it increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain IPv4 address space, and consequently will push adoption of v6 amongst their users.

Nothing is going to happen overnight, and nobody sane is expecting such, but the dual-stack approach that the providers involved in this test is the way to go in the short-to-medium term for providers and end users alike.

The ISPs know this, don't worry, you're not the only one. They also know that hiding it all away behind NAT is just a recipe for trouble and expense for those people they really care about - themselves.

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Pint

Why are you downvoting Tim Brown 1?

We like to think of the wonderful tech world where change marches on regardless, but when you start dealing with real people and real situations all that theoretical stuff goes straight down the wotnot.

MS has said that Windows XP is effectively dead now there have been at least two revisions of Windows with lots of more useful features and better performance, how many people are are still clinging on to XP?

The Apple mob, how many are happy with their iphone 3g original models? How many still using ancient Macs running the older unsupported O/S's?

How many companies have we all worked in where they are still running seriously out of date versions of Oracle, Sybase, SQLServer, etc? They daren't upgrade as the risk of breaking something would be too great.

Yes we'd all like to believe in the wonderful shiny world of tech, where things only get better but sadly the reality involving real people and real problems is far removed. Yes I would love to use IPV6, complicated but the scope for improvement is amazing but you have to convince a very large percentage of the internet to get on board, including all the ISPs and all those with 5 year old connected kit that has not concept of IPV6 to upgrade and fact is that it's not going to happen for a while yet.

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Bronze badge

Sign up new users

> There is no practical way to convert existing users.

You don't have to. They are not the problem, because they already have addresses. Just give carrots for new users to go IPv6, like a greatly slashed price.

Eventually there will be must-have killer applications that need to be used via IPv6, and this may start moving even the old users. (No, I don't know what they might be, but someone clever might yet get to be the next Zuckerberg thanks to IPv6 possibilities).

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One way to switch users

"The only way users will willingly switch is if there is a must-have service that they can't access with ipV4 and I can't see that happening any time soon"

Get Facebook to use IPv6 only. That will get a lot of end users switching over.

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@Tim Brown 1

Of they will just do what Telefonica Spain is about to do and that is a mass flash of all of their DSL modems. If you locked Telefonica out of your modem, have a non Telefonica modem that doesn't support IPv6 or have an OS/device that doesn't support ipv6 you get IPv4 behind an ISP level NAT.

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and why should they

There is no (as in zero, absolutely none) benefit in switching to IPV6.

The web sites you use don't support it, your ISP probably doesn't support it, and the little box in the corner doesn't support it.

The whole IPV6 design is broken as they provided no sensible migration path from IPV4. They have been working on this since 1998 and gotten nowhere. I think its time to pull the plug and rethink the whole thing before we really do run out of IPV4 addresses.

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Go

Convert existing users

A significant chunk of ISPs world wide maintain control over the router/access point the customer uses (think VM, BT, sky etc.) dual stack IPv6 doesn't need to be a new box, just a software update, which is well within their powers to push out. So, really it would be possible (in theory) to say "in three weeks most of our customers will be running dual stack routers".

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Holmes

I fear you are right

This has been looming for a long time.

I don't expect my old modem/router to upgrade, but even Windows XP has IPv6 support built in.

The problem is that when I looked, back in February, this year, new network hardware still wasn't mentioning IPv6 compatibility on the box.

ISPs are giving new customers a modem/router. I really hope the hardware can handle IPv6, but I have an uncomfortable feeling that it cannot.

It's not hard to feel smarter than the staff at PC World, but IPv6 is such an obvious excuse to sell hardware at a higher price that I am astounded that the corporate management geniuses haven't worked it out. And the last time I was in a store branded as PC World, they seemed to have more space devoted to TVs and washing machines. All internet connected, I suppose, and that's supposed to be why we need IPv6.

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Terminator

"before we really do run out of IPV4 addresses"

It's happened. There are no more blocks of IPv4 to allocate.

China will drive IPv6 usage, last year there were 70+ million new users in China, the next 70+ million will only be getting an IPv6 address.

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Anonymous Coward

The Wright Stuff

Ed Vaizey MP: a couple of years ago he was frequently spending his mornings hob-nobbing with Matthew Wright on Five's 'The Wright Stuff'. I hope he's got someone who knows their stuff advising, I find it hard to believe most MPs know/care what an IP address is, let alone the difference between v4 and v6.

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Stop

No, thank you.

I personally like my internet anonymity. As soon as I found out about the MAC component in IPv6, it joined the list with Vista, iCloud, the iFad, and Facebook as just another thing to avoid.

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Boffin

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

http://superuser.com/questions/243669/how-to-avoid-exposing-my-mac-address-when-using-ipv6

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Facepalm

RTFM

The "MAC component" is purely conveniece to save people making up their own address-ends. There is no requirement to use a MAC there - any random number will do.

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indeed

Yes, I know about that stuff... But I also know that a lot of internet connected devices might not have the option to change it. Think about how rudimentary some network stacks in portable stuff can be.

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JDX
Gold badge

Wonder if I was in the 0.05%

I lost connection to gmail and one or two other sites last night, but not others. I could still ping the domain and get an IP4 address, and I found I could still access the site by going to http://123.234.123.123/index.html instead of http://www.blah.com

Since the IP4 address worked, I guess it was unrelated but I don't know how these things work.

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Boffin

Sounds like...

...your ISP's DNS service, or your local DNS cache on your router crapped out.

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Stop

Rumours of incompatibility greatly exaggerated

So businesses with IPv6 only infrastructure simply won't be able to communicate with the v4 web, and vice versa? Says who?

Since IPv6 can safely encapsulate the entire range of IPv4 addresses as a subset (IPv4 mapped IPv6 addresses), it's fairly trivial for a dual-stack host outside the business's LAN to take v6 traffic and forward it to the v4 web. Also, since IPv4 can be used as a link layer for IPv6 (tunnelling), I can set up IPv6 inside my LAN, tunnel IPv6 traffic to a dual-stack box *outside* my LAN *using IPv4*, and have the tunnel endpoint forward it to the v6 web for me. There are various tunnel brokers already in existence offering this service, including some offering it for free.

The transition won't be trivial, but there's really no need for it to split the web in two until everyone's 100% switched over. Also, tunnelling between IPv4 LANs over the IPv6 web will be happening for many years to come, to support the mountains of legacy v4-only software (game servers in particular).

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Thumb Down

Not quite true!

If you want an IPV4 client to reach your IPV6 endpoint you can only do this if you IPV6 is on eof the very small subset of possible addresses. I.E. your old IPV4 address padded out with lots of zeroes to make it an IPV6 address.

They got it wrong, they should admit it and go back to the drawing board.

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Megaphone

Who..

Who is going to be first to bemaon the darth of dearth of IPv6-capable, consumer-level routers?

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Headmaster

WTF?

If you would write in english we could understand you.

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IP V6

I think I'll wait a while until they iron out all the bugs

Then I go straight to IP V7

It worked with Windows 7

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Alien

Especially as every ...

... conspiracy theorist just knows that 6 is the devil's number while 7 is the number of prime perfection GD&R

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Slow, dual-stack

It seems most likely that the conversion will happen slowly. Services will run dual-stack as they can, and ISPs and consumer equipment will get v6 added as they replace old equipment.

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Paris Hilton

IPv6 is a bit of a crock at least in comparison with IPv4.

The logic for saying this is that if it was that much better we'd seen far, far more uptake far sooner. Yet most of us sit back watching each other not care.

Most of the consumer ISPs, who use quite a lot of address space and thus ought to feel the pressure, possibly care least of all. Especially the ones still rolling out "consumer routers" with exactly no IPv6 support.

And there's the technical niggles. Like how the addresses are just that much more awkward to use.

Or how its DNS support is so thoroughly b0rked -- the peeps who did done it clearly didn't have a clue just how they were supposed to do this. Yes, there was a premeditated way, and it's called "address family". Create an inet6 family next to the inet(4) family and you don't need silly AAAA or A6 records. Just stretch up the space reserved for inet6 A and re-use the rest of the logic. If there's good reasons against doing that I'd like to know. It isn't "needs more code" because what we have is clunkier and will need more code care down the road.

Or how the "next header" bit is going to make no difference for the majority of routing things -- they'll drop any they don't like anyway, and there's a lot they don't like -- but now filters have to trawl through all of them, slowing them down.

Or how... ah who cares anyway. We had quite long enough to get it right if we had wanted to.

Paris, for the comparable enlightenment.

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What a crock of s**tty logic

>> The logic for saying this is that if it was that much better we'd seen far, far more uptake far sooner. Yet most of us sit back watching each other not care.

The two are not related. The reasons for poor takeup are numerous and sometimes complicated, but the key ones are :

1) Some people still won't accept that we actually ran out of address space a long time ago - but we've been employing really horrible and broken cludges (ie NAT) to hide that fact.

2) It does cost money, and many (most ?) ISPs have really screwed themselves over by joining a race to the bottom in terms of revenue. So now their overselling of non-existing bandwidth is catching up, they have no money left for it.

3) There's no (or hardly any) consumer equipment with support for it (see item 2 - the CE (Consumer Electronics) manufacturers don't want to spend any money).

Add them up and you have a classic catch-22 situation. There's "no demand" because it's not there, and the benefits aren't visible to be seen. It;s not there because there's no demand. If only all the wasted effort that's gone into dealing with NAT alone had gone into IPv6 then we'd be a heck of along way further down the road.

As it is, ALL major current OS's support IPv6 out of the box, and even Windows XP supports it. Much of the network infrastructure now actually supports it. Some CE manufacturers are starting to support it. And even some ISPs are dealing with it - my ISP Plusnet is just starting a limited trail of native end user IPv6 having been upgrading their networks over the last few years.

A LOT of software already supports it. I'm fully enabled at home (via a Hurricane Electric tunnel). DNS (BIND) was no problem, mail (Postfix) was just a matter of ... doing nothing as it was already set up and waiting. All I had to do extra was to install and configure IPv6 firewalling (Shorewall6).

For most users there isn't really any specific reason to upgrade right now. BUt before too long there will be - IPv4 is running out, and before too long IPv6 is going to start providing much less hassle than IPv4. As ISPs and CE manufacturers get their backsides into gear, many users will end up with IPv6 without even realising it's on - it'll "just happen".

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Holmes

I do beg to differ.

Iff IPv6 had clear, obvious, large enough advantages over IPv4 then "everyone" would want to switch, not so? It seems obvious and I really haven't seen a convincing argument otherwise.

Your catch-22, according to the IPv6 designers, doesn't exist because, well, it's backward compatible, and moreover designed to not need a flag day switchover but can be rolled out incrementally, retaining connectivity with IPv4 space. This was an explicit design goal.

Thus, if there'd been demand there'd been equipment. If consumers knew it was cool to have IPv6 they'd ask their ISPs and the ISPs would demand it from their CPE vendors. But there wasn't, and little kit appeared.

Note that it isn't that hard for consumers to bypass all that and get a free IPv6 tunnel and "upgrade" their home network that way. If there'd been enough interest someone would've put together the HOWTOs and the self-installing packages to automate the process as much as they could, and open the floodgates for the less savvy.

While I agree that foregoing NAT would've freed up a lot of effort "wasted" on overcoming its limitations, I don't think it alone can be responsible for failing IPv6 uptake. Everybody knew it was a crock, and it would've been comparably easy to implement 6-to-4 gateways in "consumer router" devices with much the same effect, and a clear upgrade path should the ISP get around to supporting IPv6 later. But nobody did.

Thus we conclude that IPv6 fails to make a compelling argument, and the one big killer feature, massive address space, is not enough to drive uptake. Even in the face of IPv4 address depletion.

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FAIL

compelling feature?

It's hard to find a compelling feature for anything as low level as a network protocol so the only actual reason to change over would be to avoid running out of addresses. That means that managers will do exactly what they did for Y2K and that is push the fix to the last possible moment when it's complexity and costs go through the roof.

Now that the central registry has run dry I'm seeing management finally clue in to the need for a change and both home and server hosting ISPs are promising IPv6 by the end of the year.

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Holmes

Good Microsoft Strategy?

I doubt MS need all those IPs, and may not want to sell them. If they buy up all the ones for sale then they will hasten the move to IPv6, pushing people into upgrading to newer versions of Windows with better support for IPv6.

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Silver badge
FAIL

How many UK ISP's offer IPV6?

I know of one, AAISP (Andrews & Arnold). IMHO, the rest seem to take the Rhett Butler approach. In his immortal words at the end of Gone with the Wind, 'Frankly I don't give a damm'.(paraphrased).

Their attitude towards this really surprised me. After all, they have know for years that this time was coming.

The attitude of the consuler Equipment makers also puzzled me. Why don't the likes of Netgear, Linksys, Buffalo etc even offer a DSL Router that supports IPV6?

Fail for obvious reasons.

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@Steve Davies 3

The IPv6 Forum maintain a list of IPv6 ready equipment at https://www.ipv6ready.org/db/index.php/public/. Buffalo and Linksys don't have a single entry.

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Go

No title

Entanet do as well

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not really a problem

many, perhaps most UK ISPs already NAT their users, so switching to IPv6 won't be terribly hard for them, and likewise the shortage of IPv4 addresses won't affect them.

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Stop

I agree...

Yes, ISP''s have to take a lead on this, and once they offer an IPV6 service, then they have to shout about it, and make sure their customers know that it is available.

At present I run a Vigor 2820, and I understand that Draytek will not be upgrading the Firmware to deal with IPV6, so I will have to get a new router, and obviously there is no point in doing that until my ISP supports it.

Stop sign - for obvious reasons.

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@SteveDavies3

Head across to Broadband Buyer's Router Finder Tool at http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Finders/Routers/ and put a tick in the IPV6 box, to find over 15 consumer routers from Belkin, Billion, D-Link, Draytek, Linksys and Netgear. But mostly Draytek and Netgear.

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Silver badge

Bing!

"likewise the shortage of IPv4 addresses won't affect them."

So even if NAT is a kluge, it is a well understood kluge that does what is needed and therefore makes IPv6 superfluous, no matter how much its advocates bemoan it.

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Gold badge

Re: http://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk/Finders/Routers/

Then tick ADSL and VPN and tell me how many of those that are left cost less than £180.

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This is not a title

Feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken but one of the "features" of IPv6 is to eliminate the need for NAT. So your home "router" would just basically be a switch, with IPs supplied by your ISP. Then your ISP would gain the ability to charge you for each device connected to your "router" as well as being able to monitor what each device is doing at any given time. Not to mention making it far easier for governments and businesses to more closely watch our internet usage. I'm all for more internet addresses, but I'm also a little concerned over the implementation of IPv6. As I said, I could be completely mistaken about this, so feel free to enlighten me.

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Router vs switch

No, it would be a router. It would route.

Your router is a NATing router, i.e. a device which performs NAT and which also routes. It probably has a firewall too as well as the capability to forward ports (i.e. it can NAT traffic both ways).

But yes, it would be possible for your ISP to count the number of addresses being accessed over your link. It might not tell them much though, especially if you have a node which changes address frequently for some reason.

Anyone who uses a router managed by their ISP may be supplyng this information to the ISP anyway - see BT's recent example where they looked at the ARP table on their customer's routers in order to identify who owned a certain device.

It's a weak argument - you control what is on your network. You can run NAT on IPv6 if you wish and make your devices appear as a single box. It's up to you. This is not a reason to stifle progress.

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Gold badge

Re: Feel free to correct me

OK. Yes, IPv6 eliminates the need for a NAT. No, your router does not just become a dumb switch.

Most consumer IPv4 routers contain firewalls, but many people haven't paid much attention to them because NAT accomplishes *some* of the same things and there's probably a second firewall in your PC.

For IPv6, that firewall simply becomes an indispensable part of the package. If it is done even vaguely competently, outsiders needn't have any idea how many devices are behind it, let alone what they are.

Having said that ... packaging all this into a product that the average Joe can use appears to be beyond the likes of Netgear, Linksys et al. We're still waiting for "consumer" units under three figures that can do IPv6. Andrews and Arnold have a moan about this on their web-site.

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Silver badge

I think I found the flaw in your plan...

"If it is done even vaguely competently.."

Given the state of ISPs that ain't gonna happen, no matter how much it should.

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Devil

So if it worked so well...

So if it worked so well, why didn't they leave it on?

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Happy

well..

My quick and dirty check says that 84 of the sites listed in the first 100 here do still list an AAAA address in DNS:

http://www.worldipv6day.org/participants/index.html

22 don't, and I didn't bother checking the other 4. I didn't check that the IPv6 address actually worked, but it's a bigger proportion than I expected. How many had a v6 address prior to the 8th I dunno.

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already there.

As someone sitting on an already-enabled network, it was an interesting day.

The phone did not ring. And I had even told people to report problems.

IPv6 traffic was pretty high. At least 10x usual. Mostly because of google and youtube.

My ntp server, being the ONLY IPv6 server in the ntp pool for the given zone, got a bit of traffic.

which was fun to watch.

The server-end providers got it right. No surprise, it really is pretty simple.

If you are a IPv4-only user, get IPv6. Because it is not a question of me 'just being cross'. Very simply, I do not have any more IPv4 addresses. My upstream will not give me any more addresses. If you want to use my newer services, you will have to use IPv6.

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FAIL

Facebook reported no increase in help requests ?

Presumably because no-one that need help could access the service over ipv6.

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Devil

Microsoft recently bought 666,000 addresses

The number of the kilobeast.

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Silver badge
Coat

Hey, psst,

wanna buy an IP address?

Can't you just imagine shady types approaching you in the street?

Coat, well, because, the shady types will be wearing them

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Happy

Translating NAT router?

Would it be possible to make a router that talks IPV6 externally, but NATS the traffic from the internal IPV4 network?

I guess it would need to do some funky translations on IPV6 DNS results as well. Then we could continue to use our Nintendo DSs and Wii's, as well as the old PCs.

This might be a solution for ISPs, who could go IPV6 for their network, without requiring the users (who know nothing) to reconfigure anything.

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