back to article IPv6 tipping point

IPv6 has hit a major tipping point: it now accounts for more than 50 per cent of the traffic carried by US mobile networks. That's according to the Internet Society's Mat Ford, who has been tracking the figures for the past year. Looking at the AS routing numbers for the four big mobile companies in the United States – AT&T, …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    50% of mobile fine, but how much of wired?

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Isn't all of the Internet weird?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        yea but

        only 50% is weird. The other 50% is gross, sick, disgusting, or worse.

  2. Dwarf Silver badge


    The message is starting to get through that this old fangled IPv6 thing can't be ignored indefinitely.

    I'm guessing that a lot of the traffic relates to mobile carrier to handset traffic (apps, phone updates, etc) where the network operator controls both ends of the system. I expect that the 50% figure is held back by the users choice of web sites / apps as obviously the site being accessed also need IPv6.

    It would be interesting to see if the mobile operators are doing some form of 6-to-4 conversion or carrier grade NAT at their edge so that they don't have to provide IPv4 addresses to the mobile devices. Obviously this means some transparent proxying (and snooping ??) in the equation too.

    I expect that another large chunk of this traffic figure relates to a small number of sites like FaceBork which is also IPv6 enabled.

  3. DougS Silver badge

    Which phones/carriers are using IPv6 by default for mobile data?

    To be honest, I have no idea if my iPhone 6S is using IPv6 on AT&T's network or not. Or even how to tell, since I'm not sure if I can see what IP address AT&T has assigned me. I could use it to connect via the cellular network to my home computer but that would show some IPv4 NAT address since I'm not getting "true" IPv6 from my ISP.

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      Re: Which phones/carriers are using IPv6 by default for mobile data?

      ask a google search "whats my ip address"

    2. s2bu

      Re: Which phones/carriers are using IPv6 by default for mobile data?

      Pretty much all LTE provides IPv6, give or take.

      1. ZeroSum

        LTE is not synonymous with IPv6

        Most LTE networks (outside the big four in the US) still use IPv4 unfortunately.

        LTE introduced the always up IP PDN connection.

        Most VoLTE services are however implemented using IPv6 PDN connections to the IMS APN.

    3. Elf

      Re: Which phones/carriers are using IPv6 by default for mobile data?

      Most carriers use a system that looks like this (may wanna' sit down, ain't pretty):

      (Mobile Device) IPv6 (Tower) IPv6 (Carrier Mobile Network-Internal) IPv6 (Proxy/Gateway/Bridge) IPv4 -> [The InterTubes] -> [WebSite]

      Your AT&T handset almost assuredly has an IPv6 address...that looks exactly like an IPv4 address to Your APN (Access Point Name - Like a WiFi SSID, only for Cell Networks) in your phone is going to connect to AT&T over LTE and make a"physical" link and then you get fed a TCP/IP address so you can play on the Web. Like I said, just like WiFi. I use TMobile and a custom Android ROM ... I hard-code (poke a radio button) the TMobile IPv6APN.

      The catch:

      Because there are a metric shitload (1.352 Standard shitloads for us in the US) of mobile devices out there that need IPs (there aren't any in IPv4 space). It made Zero sense for carriers to build their mobile networks in IPv4 space And Then try and sell us every freaking device they can (I carry two mobile devices, better half carries three sometimes four)...that's quite a few devices needing addresses. BUT, most of the {Redacted -Ed} InterTubes still insist on using {Heavily Redacted -Ed} IPv4. The irritation as a networkey kinda' guy is actually three fold:

      1. Endpoints (Your average GoDaddy site, say, or many corporate know...where people actually *GO* on The Web) are still IPv4 because of their hosting companies who have little incentive to change. When they do, users will.

      2. Routes are sketch. All of my personal servers have IPv6 addresses, and do IPv6 hrough their edge and to The Backbone, after that it's anyone's guess. So that's great but how do I get to my servers (say) from a StarBucks (Google Bandwidth *could* and probably *should* do what the TelCos are doing) or Mom&Pop Coffee shop's shitty last mile DSL Carrier? Answer: I use the NAT foolishness in IPv4 that I get fed and go talk to the IPv4 address of my server.

      3. Related to but sepatrate from the above would be *Software* (vague, very generally) has no bloody clue what an IPv6 addy looks like. From Consumer SoHo Network gear to Apps. The lower end stuff isn't ready, isn't on by default (neither is QoS/Packet Scheduling and *that* would make The InterTubes such a better place but that's another rant entirely). OSs are ready though, and that's a Good Thing.

      The carriers had/have an advantage in the Mobile space from a network perspective: It's new enough that they could make the jump in technology at any point during a new Standards Rollout (4GLTE was good for this) and they could be counted on for the Lemming Effect**. Just built an IPv6 network, and a few Big Bloody Proxys™ on the Edge. When IPv6 *is* The Net, pull the Proxys.

      Long-standing wired carriers can't really change because *their* customers are entrenched (High-Small to Low-Large) in IPv4. The customers are entrenched because of their carriers and the realities of Corporate IT Networks ( ... after you tell the CFO how many geek-hours it's going to take, and they stop laughing).

      As you might guess, I've got some skin in this game***. I'm happy for the mobile carriers because Half their traffic is a Seriously Good Start that has been needed for a long time, and just a wee jealous that we aren't doing better on the last mile. I'm not bitter though (yes, yes I very much am).

      ** Once one of them jusifies the Risk, the Budget, and just effing *does* it, then the rest will jump in as well.

      *** I was drinking with some Ericsson guys a few months ago. I sent them a sympathy round because the IPv6->IPv4 handoff from {$carrier}s towers was buggering something or other.


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still no ipv6

    KCOM still don't offer ipv6, not even in their data centre let alone to home users.

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      Re: Still no ipv6

      Change ISP to one that does (Andrews and Arnold, Zen or BT - by the end of 2016), voting with our feet will eventually make the PHB's think again

      Alternately, to buy some time whilst you change ISP, get a tunnel broker from Hurricane Electric for free, stick in a raspberry PI into your home network or if your router is supported, then re-flash your router to dd-wrt / openWRT and use the native or radvd functionality to tunnel our and access the IPv6 world.

      1. ZeroSum

        Re: Still no ipv6

        Sky Broadband are over 80% dual-stack IPv4+IPv6.

  5. Chris Evans

    "which is incompatible with IPv4"

    This is not my area of expertise but I know enough to say that saying "[IPv6) is incompatible with IPv4" is a misleading over simplification.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: "which is incompatible with IPv4"

      "saying "[IPv6) is incompatible with IPv4" is a misleading over simplification."

      Correct. That's been covered before but to summarise:

      1. IPv4 includes no provision for forward compatibility, so the only way to get more address space is to introduce a new version that cannot intrinsically interoperate with IPv4.

      2. But this has been understood since before IPv6 was designed, so the design has always included techniques for co-existence and transition.

      3. Summarising a complicated picture: one technique is dual-stack mode (which is what my ISP supports) and the probably-preferred technique for mobiles is an IPv6-only client connection with double translation for reaching IPv4-only sites (known as 464XLAT).

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