Backbone operators see IPv6 connectivity demand up, but little traffic

Joel Jaeggli joelja at
Sun May 15 17:22:56 UTC 2011

You've got to get your backbone and transit enabled instrumented and stable before you put customers on it... that's a key in transitioning from an experiemental toy to something that you can actually use.

The current V6 deployement that I'm working on mirrors the previous 4 almost exactly in that regard. 

the v6 workshop at nanog 41 pretty much echoed that observation.


On May 15, 2011, at 1:29 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:

> Backbone operators see IPv6 connectivity demand up, but little traffic
> Internet backbone and wholesale carriers are anecdotally reporting a rapid
> rise in demand from their service provider customers for IPv6 connectivity—an
> apparent prelude to the full-scale arrival of the IPv6 Internet as World IPv6
> Day looms on the horizon. 
> We've seen a tremendous increase in IPv6 traffic. Granted, though, it still
> comes nowhere near our traffic on v4.
> Reid Fishler, director, Hurricane Electric
> Backbone operators, however, acknowledge that the amount of IPv6 traffic
> still pales in comparison to that of its predecessor, IPv4, and that it's
> still too early to tell how quickly it will grow.
> Hurricane Electric, which claims to operate the world's largest IPv6-native
> Internet backbone, has established three dual-stack (both IPv4 and IPv6)
> points of presence (POPs) at carrier hotels since March. Citing growing
> demand from operators for European peering points with IPv6 Internet
> connectivity, the wholesale provider connected its backbone to the Equinix
> Paris Exchange last week.
> When Hurricane Electric offered native dual-stack services to carriers two
> years ago, few accepted them, according to Reid Fishler, director of carrier
> sales and purchasing at Hurricane Electric. Customers were confused or
> disinterested, but now "the vast majority" of service providers that are
> buying wholesale access at these Internet peering points are opting for
> dual-stack—and in rare cases, IPv6-only connections, he said.
> "We've seen a tremendous increase in IPv6 traffic. Granted, though, it still
> comes nowhere near our traffic on v4," Fishler said. "But look at any one of
> these [Internet] exchange fabrics and compare v6 traffic to v4 traffic. Up
> until a year ago, you couldn't even rate [the amount of IPv6 traffic], and
> now you're starting to see it [on the Internet], and you definitely see a lot
> of the traffic coming in from China and Asia as v6 traffic now."
> Hurricane Electric also established dual-stack POPs in Internet exchange
> point Telehouse Paris Voltaire and VegasNAP in Las Vegas in March. Late last
> year, demand for IPv6 Internet connectivity prompted Hurricane Electric's POP
> expansions into peering points Comfluent, in Denver; Equinix Singapore
> Exchange; and the Northwest Access Exchange in Portland, Ore.  More on IPv6
> connectivity
> Get a telecom network architect's view on how to convert IPv4 to IPv6.
> Learn why your telecom IPv6 transition plan must include more than upgrading
> your routers.
> Find out how to make the IPv4 to IPv6 transition work.
> If you can get your kids to eat their veggies, you can sell enterprises on
> IPv6 migration plans.
> Shawn Morris, manager of IP development at NTT America, said IPv6 Internet
> traffic is still "a tiny fraction" of all Internet traffic, but NTT America
> has seen a steady increase of demand for and questions about IPv6
> connectivity from its carrier customers over the past few years. A large
> portion of the demand is coming from service providers in Latin America,
> which have been slower to adopt IPv6 than carriers in other regions, Morris
> said.
> Demand for dual-stack peering at public Internet exchanges and at private
> peering points has also increased, said Morris, who oversees network
> architecture, hardware and software.
> "I wouldn't say it's at parity with IPv6, but it's definitely trending in
> that direction," he said. "That's a big change. In ‘03 and ‘04, we went
> native [with IPv6 on our backbone] and were ready to peer with any of our
> peers, but it took a good six to seven years before we really saw an increase
> in demand."
> More requests for IPv6 connectivity, but traffic barely materializing
> NTT America could not provide any data regarding IPv6 Internet traffic
> levels. But in its search for a new network monitoring platform, one of its
> requirements was more granular visibility into levels of IPv4 and IPv6
> traffic, Morris said.
> "We don't have any hard statistics ... but we definitely keep seeing more
> customers adding v6 onto their connections and an increase in the v6 routing
> table," he said. "But we're also expecting, to be honest, quite a bit of
> growth in the IPv4 routing table as people start to split up the address
> space in the run-out. So, we're planning for a large amount of growth in both
> tables."
> Order requests for IPv6 connectivity have doubled every year for the past
> three years at Global Crossing, according to Anthony Christie, the backbone
> operator's chief technical and information officer. But that hasn't
> translated yet into any significant amount of IPv6 Internet traffic on Global
> Crossing's network, he said.
> "The traffic that we're seeing would need to increase 100 times the current
> levels in order for it to be a meaningful percentage in total traffic,"
> Christie said. "The content, addresses and infrastructure associated with
> [IPv4] is not yet exhausted, so you wouldn't necessarily expect a switch to
> flick because someone has decided to order a v6 port on our network."
> The American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN)—the Regional Internet
> Registry (RIR) for the United States, Canada and much of the Caribbean—has
> seen similar rates of growth in requests for IPv6 address space blocs,
> according to John Curran, president and CEO of ARIN. In 2008, ARIN received
> 250 requests for IPv6 address blocs from ISPs and hosting providers; in 2009,
> that rose to just above 400. Last year, ARIN received 700 requests. Within
> the first quarter of 2011, it has received 500 requests for IPv6 address
> blocs and expects that to total 1,500 by the end of the year, Curran said. 
> "We've seen, for the last three years, the requests for IPv6 address space
> double," Curran said. "But that may not result in traffic."
> Internet backbone provider Level 3 Communications, which recently announced
> its intention to buy Global Crossing, has seen similar IPv6 connectivity and
> traffic trends.
> "Level 3 has witnessed growth in the number of IPv6 routes that are being
> advertised, but IPv6 routes still account for a very small portion of all
> Internet routes," said Mark Taylor, vice president of content and media at
> Level 3. "Likewise, even as IPv6 Internet traffic is on the rise, it is still
> small relative to the growth in address announcements."
> What will spur growth of the IPv6 Internet?
> Backbone operators don't doubt that the IPv6 Internet will grow—but how
> rapidly or under what conditions is anyone's guess.
> Hurricane Electric's Fishler said he expects rapid growth will be spurred by
> consumer demand for a "killer application" that only functions on the IPv6
> Internet.
> "If some large Internet-addressable service ... comes out and it needs to
> have 10,000 servers or whatever it needs, that next thing is going to
> [require] v6," he said. "That next product, whatever it'll be, will be IPv6
> primarily and IPv4 secondarily ... and that's when we're going to see IPv6
> take off, and that's when customers and service providers are going to be
> taken aback [if they can't] do it natively."
> Morris, of NTT America, didn't rule out the IPv6 killer app theory but
> predicted more conservative, steady growth of the IPv6 Internet.
> "We're going to see a more gradual increase in IPv6 traffic as time goes on,
> unless something comes along that's a killer app that's only available on
> IPv6," he said. "I honestly don't know what that would be ... but something
> like that might spurn a really quick uptake in IPv6. But what I think we're
> going to see is more and more organic growth."

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