back to article Stern Vint Cerf blasts techies for lackluster worldwide IPv6 adoption

Co-inventor of TCP/IP and so-called "Father of the Internet" Vint Cerf has urged network nerds to "get with the program" on World IPv6 Day. In a video to celebrate six years since the creation of World IPv6 Launch, Cerf offers optimistic impatience with the rollout of the next-generation network addressing protocol. He notes …

" it is very hard to get hold of IPv4 addresses unless you go to one of the grey markets where they cost significantly more than IPv6 addresses;"

It is not very hard to buy IPv4 addresses; going rate is about 10-20 per IPv4.

But it is very hard to implement IPv6 in an IPv4-only ISP: routers, CPE's, DHCP, management systems, legal intercept, monitoring tools, manuals, helpdesk, tutorials.

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"mostly because people have figured how to do more with their existing IPv4 addresses,"

Quite. So if it's not broken there is no motivation to fix it.

"But it is very hard to implement IPv6 in an IPv4-only ISP"

And if you cared, you wouldn't chose an IP4v ISP. If you have a choice! But if stuff just works, why would the average punter care?

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"you wouldn't chose an IP4v ISP"

That commenter may be from the US, and if so, they may not have multiple ISPs to choose from.

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"PS: Yes, yes, we know, The Register is still IPv4, and not on IPv6. Word from our sysadmins is that we'll migrate Soon™"

Hoo-fecking-ray.

At least you're acknowledging it now, but my comment history shows a similar response for the last... five... six years? I can't be bothered to go back further than that.

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Anonymous Coward

They are just being frugal

It will be cheaper to jump straight to IPV8, and the savings can go to important community focused journalism like building a robot kegerator or developing the ultimate bacon sandwich.

I want my tech journalists worrying about journalism, not value signaling their hosting providers buzzword compliance.

Take your time Gents, the sky isn't falling this year.

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""PS: Yes, yes, we know, The Register is still IPv4, and not on IPv6. Word from our sysadmins is that we'll migrate Soon™""

But if you are on IPV6 you can still access it on IPv4, so again little motivation to change!

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IP V.Soon™??

You will note that they said "migrate Soon™", rather than "migrate V.Soon™" ;)

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Re: They are just being frugal

I would prefer my tech journalists to stop whining about poor take-up of IPv6 when there is literally no reason not to instruct their host "turn on IPv6" on a test domain. It's seriously overdue given the amount of ribbing they want to give others, not that it's a vital technical resource. It's like mocking everyone for not using Windows 10 when they're stuck on XP.

Hell, it would make a whole series of interesting articles: How The Reg went IPv6, the problems we hit, and why haven't you done it yet?

Instead we get junk like this:

https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2018/05/24/open_source_mano_release_four_lands/

Where there are literally two posts in the comments... me asking "WTH is this", and some random guy commenting "I don't know either", and that's it. Still none the wiser.

But yet every month, without fail, we get more and more dire warnings, articles about IPv4 allocations running out, coupled with statements like "It's about time everyone moved on because there are no addresses left", etc. but The Reg make no efforts that way. Not even tokens. Not even tests.

To be honest, the Reg reader survey is entirely "BI"-focused, yet most of their readers appear to be techy and wanting to forget just about anything to do with such managerial buzzwording - science, tech, sure. I'd much rather read a good article on the systems behind the Reg and what they use and how they implement a major project, than some guff. I suspect, however, that it would be technically embarrassing for them.

Journalists are journalists. But if they're sniping at the big places for not being ready, then they cannot ignore their own, much smaller, much easier, neglected internal system. Has The Reg updated their routers etc. against VPNFilter? What are they doing about Spectre/Meltdown? And how can they claim to be a good source of advice, articles and news about such things if they can't manage the basics?

Create ipv6.theregister.co.uk

Add an AAAA record to it.

Activate IPv6 on the frontend servers for that subdomain.

When it works, advertise it as a "prototype" and then start fixing things like logins, logfiles, etc. to work on it.

Even if it takes a year, two years, to get up-and-running you can THEN be sarky about places not supporting IPv6.

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Re: They are just being frugal

The Reg make no efforts that way. Not even tokens. Not even tests.

The hostname used for most images, regmedia.co.uk, has been returning an AAAA record, and has been usable over IPv6, since at least (let me check the changelog) three years ago.

My last comment on the matter of IPv6 still stands: https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2018/05/21/ipv6_growth_is_slowing_and_no_one_knows_why/#c_3521098

Soon®

I'd much rather read a good article on the systems behind the Reg

See the https://www.theregister.co.uk/about/company/website/ ("under the hood") page; you can always fire off an email to webmaster@ and I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

As to your question about project management and "technical embarrassment" - you might be right; after all, it's a very small team and we're bound to get things wrong, or done slowly :)

Specifically about IPv6 on thereg, the main reason progress has been slow on the matter for the past few months (couple years now actually) is that I've not been able to secure a "proper" IPv6 connection for testing things properly with. This obstacle has now been stepped over, and as soon as my schedule frees up to allow me to do such tests, fix bugs and enliven things - there'll be IPv6 on thereg.

Mind you that adding IPv6 to ElReg is a little bit like adding icing to the cake. I can work on that icing once the cake's actually looking and tasting good, but if it looks like somebody stomped on it, I can't work on the icing and need to hold it off.

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Re: They are just being frugal

"It's like mocking everyone for not using Windows 10 when they're stuck on XP."

So, the mocking is justified, then?

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Re: They are just being frugal

>So, the mocking is justified, then?

I read it that the person doing the mocking was the one stuck on XP...

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Re: They are just being frugal

Hell, it would make a whole series of interesting articles: How The Reg went IPv6, the problems we hit, and why haven't you done it yet?

Excellent idea. Seeing a series of articles documenting it would be nice. It would be very good to see the transition as well as the excuses.

This can be as easy as setting up a box that has a IPv6 to IPv4 gateway along with both IPs and then a AAAA record and you will have it. Getting that working, though can be challenging if your admins are not familiar with it. Most operating systems have access to IPv6 built in already.

It took me about 30 minutes to enable IPv6 using a tunnel years back (using straight addresses on each server), but learning it took much longer. Where I had the most learning was seeing how it worked with different MTUs as well as routing and multiple tunnels. The ISP side could probably be the hardest part.

BTW, If you are using an updated OS (something within the last six years), you probably already have the IPv4 addresses which are mapped in the IPv6 address format in the logs. (This format could look like ::104.20.250.41)

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Coat

Sure..

Sure.. Vint Cerf may be the "Father of the Internet"

..but we're the mothers that have to keep it working..

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Re: Sure..

And we do what our corporate masters tell us to do. IPv6 will entail some cost (significant in some areas) and the masters love their profits so tech loses.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sure..

... now in graceful and favourable retirement after taking Google's Shilling as a pension.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sure..

Tech is the servant of business, not the other way around.

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Re: Sure..

now in graceful and favourable retirement after taking Google's Shilling as a pension.

Or advising Google's huge teams of networking engineers when the inevitably dream up new protocols: Brotli, SPDY, etc.

Experience costs, but inexperience generally costs more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sure..

Quite. Due respect to Vint Cerf (seriously) but if the designers of IPv6 had spent more time making it simple (enough) to implement for your average user -- even home user -- and more importantly: demonstrated clear benefit to doing it, for the same audience, maybe uptake would be better.

Instead IPv6 appears to the average consumer or user not as an upgrade, but rather a complicated bother they don't need anyway. Argue all you want about the reality and puff out your chest about how easy it is blah blah blah -- that's still the perception today.

Small demand from users and consumers means no incentive for the ISPs and cable companies et al to offer it. Seems simple enough.

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Re: Sure..

"Instead IPv6 appears to the average consumer or user not as an upgrade"

It doesn't just appear to not be an upgrade, it isn't an upgrade. IPv6 is needed to address the overloading of the IPv4 space, and its value really only shines when you can't get another IPv4 address. I can't think of any strong reason to use IPv6 except to resolve the IPv4 address space issue.

This is something that genuinely doesn't affect the average consumer. It affects their ISP.

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Re: Sure..

You only have to look as far as all the people asking for help with port forwarding or with closed NAT on their Xboxes to realize that it does affect at least some consumers.

(Then there are the indirect effects, like forcing all IoT stuff to go through a relay server because it's just too difficult to avoid it when everybody is behind three layers of NAT.)

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Re: Sure..

"(Then there are the indirect effects, like forcing all IoT stuff to go through a relay server because it's just too difficult to avoid it when everybody is behind three layers of NAT.)"

They're going to go through a relay server anyway, because it's also the C&C server which means the vendor gets to feast on all your personal data by hiding away in a country not subject to privacy laws. Don't believe me? Why did Skype do it when it wasn't really broken to begin with?

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Re: Sure..

"Then there are the indirect effects, like forcing all IoT stuff to go through a relay server because it's just too difficult to avoid it when everybody is behind three layers of NAT."

I don't have any such issues. Oh, you meant allowing your IoT devices to talk to someone else's server? That might be a problem, but you can work around it. Or, better yet, avoid those sorts of devices. I'm continually baffled by people who are OK with filling their homes with such devices, particularly given that you can accomplish the same things without letting companies spy on you.

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Re: Sure..

Sure, a lot of IoT stuff is made by sleezy companies that'll do that anyway. But if you want to have any hope of ever avoiding the relays, then "just NAT behind CGNAT" is not the way to go.

We need to create and maintain an environment in which companies can do the right thing, before we get to complain that they're not doing it.

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Re: Sure..

> Then there are the indirect effects, like forcing all IoT stuff to go through a relay server because it's just too difficult to avoid it when everybody is behind three layers of NAT.

This, in spades.

NAT is a hacked up kludge, _NOT_ some magic panacea. It breaks a lot of stuff and the workarounds open more security holes than it closes

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Re: Sure..

This is a business issue, not a technical issue. Thus it's not up to the engineers to solve. No point getting angry.

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Re: Sure..

Nobody's angry, Dan. The word I'd use is "dumbfounded". As in "Boy oh boy. That was the stupidest business decision I've seen in almost a decade. I'm dumbfounded. Utterly dumbfounded. Sure glad I sold off my Microsoft stock ages ago if that's the kind of business decisions coming out of Redmond these days."

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Analogy Units

"if all IPv4 addresses were contained inside a smartphone, IPv6 would fill a container the size of the Earth"

I read the Wikipedia article "List of unusual units of Measurement" and now I'm wondering how many IPv4 addresses fit into the complete works of Shakespeare.

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Re: Analogy Units

"if all IPv4 addresses were contained inside a smartphone, IPv6 would fill a container the size of the Earth"

Sadly, this is nonsense. Because of the stupid and wasteful way that IPv6 addressing works, each LAN needs a /64 prefix (burning 2^64 addresses for typically a few dozen devices). And because it can't be subnetted on a longer prefix boundary, each subscriber who might need two or more subnets needs a larger allocation than that.

What it means is that in practice, an IPv6 /56 prefix is the same as an IPv4 single address with NAT - i.e. the unit that an ISP must give out to a "small" subscriber. Since the first three bits are fixed, this means that in practice that there are 2^53 usable IPv6 addresses. This is 2 million times (2^(53-32) = 2^21) more than IPv4; still a lot, but not mind-bogglingly vast.

The original plans assumed giving a /48 prefix to each subscriber. This would have meant that the IPv6 address space was only 2^13 times more than IPv4. IPv6 address depletion panic set in even before there were any users.

A few years ago, a single ISP - France Telecom - managed to get assigned a /19 of IPv6 address space. Remembering that the top 3 bits are fixed, this means they own 1/65,536 of the entire IPv6 unicast address space. And there are more than 65,536 autonomous systems making up the Internet today.

Clearly not everybody can justify a /19, but every member of RIPE gets a minimum of a /32, and can get a /29 on request with no questions asked.

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Come on el reg, you need to bite the hand that feeds you this crap and get to the facts!!

@Crypto Monad

What it means is that in practice, an IPv6 /56 prefix is the same as an IPv4 single address with NAT - i.e. the unit that an ISP must give out to a "small" subscriber. Since the first three bits are fixed, this means that in practice that there are 2^53 usable IPv6 addresses. This is 2 million times (2^(53-32) = 2^21) more than IPv4; still a lot, but not mind-bogglingly vast.

The original plans assumed giving a /48 prefix to each subscriber. This would have meant that the IPv6 address space was only 2^13 times more than IPv4. IPv6 address depletion panic set in even before there were any users.

i was going to write similar,

Come on el reg, you need to bite the hand that feeds you this crap and get to the truth. IPv6 wanted to do away with NAT and just created an equivalence with its own issues, and the amount of non wasted addresses by design is vastly less than is being widely preached.

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Re: Analogy Units

I read the Wikipedia article "List of unusual units of Measurement" and now I'm wondering how many IPv4 addresses fit into the complete works of Shakespeare.

https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/stats/ after calculating stats on loading the page (wait, what? the works of Shakespeare are not a fixed thing, now he is dead?) reports that

There are 884,421 total words in Shakespeare's 43 works.

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1208.6109 says that for English, the average word length is 5.1. hmm. Close enough?

Add one for punctuation

(5.1+1) * 884,421 = 5,394,968.1 should be a fairly close estimation. But wait, that's modern English. Does Shakespeare's English differ?

Luckily enough, Copyright has expired, and the texts are available online from e.g. https://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/6/6.006/s08/lecturenotes/files/t8.shakespeare.txt

Strip out the blurb to leave just the works and we have: 5,461,565

Hey, the estimation was pretty close!

We're forward thinking so lets use UTF-8 instead of ASCII. That's 87385040 bits of data. That's enough to store 2,730,782 IP addresses.

So the complete works of Shakespeare is a little under 2,3/4 MIP

*takes a bow*

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Re: Analogy Units

> France Telecom - managed to get assigned a /19 of IPv6 address space

Unlike IPv4 addresses, IPv6 allocations aren't "owned". FT would presumably have to show that they're actually using their allocation or some of it would be taken back. In theory, anyway, that's how it works. I'm not sure what justification they had for a /19, though...

> And there are more than 65,536 autonomous systems

Not sure what you mean by "autonomous system".

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Re: Analogy Units

"this means that in practice that there are 2^53 usable IPv6 addresses."

No, it means that IPV6 can handle 2^53 routable networks.

"What it means is that in practice, an IPv6 /56 prefix is the same as an IPv4 single address with NAT"

Sure. But it's now the routable address of a network.

"2^53 usable IPv6 addresses. This is 2 million times (2^(53-32) = 2^21) more than IPv4"

No, IPv6 can handle ~ 2 million times more routable networks. IPv6 can also handle ~ 2^85 times more addresses than IPv4.

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Re: Analogy Units

Also, even with /48s there are 2^45/7 billion = ~5000 per human. With /56s there are 2^53/7 billion = 1.3 million. Per human. And this is all out of 2000::/3 only; we still have five unused /3s that we can expand into with tighter allocation policies if it turns out to be necessary. These allocation sizes are fine, and we have an escape hatch if it somehow turns out that they aren't fine.

It's the same with that /19 mentioned above. France Telecom have 256 million customers, which is 3.7% of humanity. By that metric, their "fair share of the v6 space" (if we pretend for a moment that the concept makes sense) would be 2,360 /19s. One /19 barely even registers, and there's no reason to force them to conserve address space when we have enough available (plus an escape hatch just in case we're wrong). We made v6 overly huge precisely to avoid doing that.

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Re: Analogy Units

"Unlike IPv4 addresses, IPv6 allocations aren't "owned" "

Only a small set of "Class A" ranges is 'owned" - assigned by Jon Postel prior to IANA being formed - and most of those have been handed back over the last few years.

That's how "we ran out" kept being staved off

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Re: Analogy Units

" it means that IPV6 can handle 2^53 routable networks."

The Keyword in all this discussion is "networks"

When IPv4 was first created, the first octet was routing information, similar to an international dialling code. The idea that the first octet gave some indication of the network's position on the planet went out the window when the address space was broken up into Class A/B/C

Whilst IPv4 can only handle 65536 BGP4 networks one of the more important problems is the amount of routing update traffic that's flowing around and the number of updates that need to be made to memory tables in core routers. Calculating best paths is a big CPU hog.

IPv6 space is so big BECAUSE it makes provision for hierarchical routing, which in turn means that the number of routing updates flying around can be kept relatively low, which makes things more efficient at machine level (not numerically).

Sparseness in network addressing tables is a good thing. Imagine if your phone number was +441234567890 whilst your neighbours were +423210457895 and +622136 and that kind of chaos was repeated all the way up and down your street as well as across town.

Just because it can theoretically hold trillions of addresses, doesn't mean it is ever intended to. Once it sinks in that the first few bytes of IPv6 is supposed to be geographical/network routing information the size of the space makes sense - and the other reason it's "so big" is so that we don't have to go through this entire exercise again in a few years.

IPv4 was a hacky kludge only intended to remain in service for 5-6 years. That it's lasted as long as it has is a testament to ingenuity in the face of adversity more than Vint's original design.

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Re: Analogy Units

Slight modification, Alan ... A couple of the original Class As (and some of the Class Bs, and many of the Class Cs (including my own, given up in late '96[0])) were just grabbed by people who needed or wanted them. We often notified Jon they were in use after the fact. TehIntraWebTubes was a very different place back in the mists of time ...

[0] Seemed kinda pointless to own at the time; I had just sold my "portal" to idiots with more money than brains, and decided that I didn't need the address space anymore. In retrospect, it was a good decision ... Who needs that many routable IP addresses?

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Boffin

Re: Analogy Units

This is 2 million times (2^(53-32) = 2^21) more than IPv4; still a lot, but not mind-bogglingly vast.

2^53 is over 900 000 000 000 000. That's approximately 1.2 million addresses for every living person on the planet.

Except it isn't -- it's 1.2 million network addresses for every living person. Each network can contain about 2^64 = over 1 800 000 000 000 000 000 devices for over 2 200 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 devices for every living person.

But what about companies, you say? Well, there are about 115 million companies in the world. Let's make them need about 60 x more network addresses (on average) than individuals. Why 60? Because that makes their total effect roughly equal to the individual effect, and I'm lazy. So instead of 1 200 000 networks with up to 2 200 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 devices per entity, we're talking 600 000 networks with up to 1 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 devices. (That would actually be 600 000 networks per person, and 36 000 000 networks per company.)

This means that even if 99.9999999999999% of IPv6 address space gets wasted, it's still bigger than IPv4.

Put another way, even with the waste you mention, IPv4's address space is less than 0.0000000000001% of IPv6's.

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New unit of measurement

'In terms of scale, if all IPv4 addresses were contained inside a smartphone, IPv6 would fill a container the size of the Earth.'

Iphone6 plus or something smaller with upgradable storage ? It makes a difference :p

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Re: New unit of measurement

I can't fit all the IPv4 addresses in my smartphone, coz I do block adverts and such. Though there is no such filter on my dumbphone, I don't use it for any Internet type stuff. On the other hand, the ISP my dumbphone is using has been offering IPv6 to it's costumers for many years, the ISP on the smartphone not so much.

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Boffin

Re: New unit of measurement

You only need 16GB of storage to store all IPv4 addresses.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: New unit of measurement

And if you only store 1 bit per address (since the position in the bitset gives you the address) you only need 512MB.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: New unit of measurement

> And if you only store 1 bit per address (since the position in the bitset gives you the address) you only need 512MB.

You don't even need that. You could calculate them on the fly.

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Re: New unit of measurement

its really easy to compress data like that. i could store the whole IPv6 address range in this post.

::/0

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Len
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Pint

Belgium

Why is Belgium not listed? They should be over 50% https://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/statistics.html#tab=per-country-ipv6-adoption&tab=per-country-ipv6-adoption

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Mushroom

Re: Belgium

HOW DARE YOU USE THAT WORD OUTSIDE OF A SERIOUS SCREENPLAY?

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Re: Belgium

Foonting turlingdrome.

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Meh

Re: Belgium

Thanks for the link, Len ; the results are not what one (I) would first have guessed. Here in Sweden, we seem to be doing a rather poor job of transitioning compared to neighbours like Norway and Finalnd (not to speak of Germany), but at least we're ahead of Denmark....

Henri

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Re: Belgium

Looking at those statistics I have to congratulate the Australians on their epic troll.

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Re: Belgium

Lyshus fricking womgunts

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They should never have cried wolf

My personal issue with IPv6 is that it seeks to replace instead of co-exist and I believe that this is what makes the whole thing so hard. Because even if you use IPv6 you're still often depending on IPv4.

My ISP for example supports IPv6, I even have a public IPv6 address. Unfortunately the router only provides this on the outside, on the inside only IPv4 is provided. I once tried to set up the DHCPv6 server but to little avail. And that brings me back to my dilemma: all my internal stuff uses IPv4 so the moment I try to connect to the Internet the first thing it does is contacting an IPv4 gateway. So where's the benefit here?

But I really think that they shouldn't have played cry wolf for so many times. Several times did they share doom scenarios about IPv4 running out and the Internet coming to a grinding halt UNLESS we would embrace the savior that is IPv6. The Internet mostly ignored that and the grinding halt never happened. It doesn't matter if engineers worked hard to prevent that from happening, what matters here is public perception: a doom scenario was predicted, and it never happened.

Not once, not twice but at least four times of the past years. And that's a really sure way to lose credibility. Good luck trying to convince upper management that IPv6 is important: "But haven't we heard those stories all the time now? So why should we invest when everything works just fine?".

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