Are IPv6-only Internet services viable today?

Cameron Byrne cb.list6 at
Thu Jan 14 19:10:08 UTC 2010


My question to the community is:  assuming a network based IPv6 to IP4
translator is in place (like NAT64 / DNS64), are IPv6-only Internet
services viable as a product today?  In particular, would it be
appropriate for a 3G /smartphone or wireless broadband focused on at
casual (web and email) Internet users?  Keep in mind, these users have
NAT44 today.

There has been a lot of discussion about CGN / LSN /  and other
technologies around the corner.  In the mobile network operator space,
the lack of IPv4 addresses, both public and RFC 1918, has been very
real for a long time.  In North America, mobile network operators have
numbered subscribers with BOGON space (obvious risk) and relaunched
multiple instances of RFC1918 space multiple times within their AS
(breaking end-to-end even within their own AS, which is a problem with
technologies increasingly moving towards any-to-any SIP and IMS).  In
any event, we can clearly state the addressing issue has compromised
both engineering and business decisions in today's major mobile
networks.  Both scenarios above require tremendous NAT44
infrastructure.  And, future CGN technologies don't give me much
comfort that things will get better for the operator or the consumer.
So, i have been looking more at offering IPv6-only service with NAT64
translation to access the IPv4 Internet.  For the network operator,
the NAT44 and NAT64 aggregate network state / number of translation is
the same to start, and as more native IPv6 content come on the NAT64
gracefully.  In fact, given that Google is IPv6 now, and Google is
content leader, moving to NAT64 would actually be a reduction in NET
NAT translations.

IMHO, any dual-stack solution is not an adequate interim solution
since both private and public IPv4 addresses are simply not available
or will be soon completely exhausted.  Dual-stack will have a role in
the future, just like public IPv4 addresses have a role today.
Dual-stack will be a required service for users with special
requirements (legacy IPv4 VPNs ....) , not average web and email users
that account for greater than ~80% of a mobile operator's customer
base.  I also want to stress that this solution best fits new
subscribers and devices, it will not be a solution for Window 98 ...
or Windows XP in fact. This draft is helpful in understanding the
issues as well as the IETF's work on NAT64

Some folks in a lab decided to see what type of user experience can be
expected using NAT64 and DNS64 and IPv6-only on the end system --
using commonly available hardware and software that's available today,
but different from the kit used for the NANOG IPv6 hour.  In this
case, there is a NAT-PT box in place of NAT64, they used an open
source DNS64 implementation, and a standard WIndows 7 Starter edition
netbook.  I think the conclusion is that casual Internet use, as a
product, is possible today.  It is not everything IPv4 offers today,
but as IPv6 content and applications come on-line the IPv6
capabilities will exceed what IPv4 could do (no NAT for native flows).

Screenshot video below, best viewed in HQ mode.  This is just a data
point with regard to functionality that is akin to NAT64 / DNS64 that
is available today.

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