How are you doing with IPv6, or what slows down the transition to a new version of the protocol - discuss the situation

    IPv6 was born more than twenty years ago. During all this time, it has not become widespread, at least its implementation is progressing rather slowly. For example, according to Google, only 24% of users connect to the company's search resource via IPv6. Today we will tell how things are going with the adaptation of the protocol in the world and discuss why companies still need to think about its implementation.

    / Flickr / Christiaan Colen / CC

    The situation in the world - that with the introduction of IPv6

    Statistics of IPv6 connections to its services Google collects since 2009. According to the schedule presented on the company's website , a little more than 20% of users work with the new protocol. Most of them are in the United States (almost 39%), Germany (38%) and India (34%).

    As for Russia, there is a new protocol uses only 1,3% Google services users. However, this figure is gradually increasing, as more and more operators and ISPs offer IPv6 to their customers. For example, we are also launching support for the new version of the protocol in 1cloud , since many of our clients asked us to do this.

    In addition to Google, Internet DVRs are also monitoring the pace of IPv6 deployment. As notedJeff Houston, head of research at APNIC Labs (Geoff Huston), most of the users accessing the Internet via IPv6, are in India (44%) and the United States (21%). The difference from Google statistics is probably due to the fact that the IT giant has relatively recently begun to actively promote its products in the Indian market.

    What hinders the transition to IPv6?

    Technical difficulties

    It is believed that building a separate IPv6 network can take a long time. And in some cases this is true. For example, in SIE Worldwide Studios - a group of video game development companies - the introduction of the “IPv6 project” has been going on for as many as 7 years. The team had to revise the network architecture, get rid of NAT and obsolete firewall rules. However, they have not yet succeeded in completely eliminating the “legacy” of IPv4: they still use the address space of private IP addresses ( RFC 1918 ) and the CIDR ranges / 26 and / 30.

    One of the reasons for the long transition was the scale of the networkcompanies: it covers about 14 development studios with 15 thousand devices. At the same time, when the team began its project on the implementation of the IPv6 network, a lot of hardware and software was incompatible with the new protocol.

    Since then, the situation has improved, iron supports IPv6 by default, and the network has a large number of guidelines for implementing a new version of the protocol. They do not take into account all possible difficulties, but they allow you to complete the transition in a much shorter time. And many companies have already migrated.

    At the same time, Internet providers and cloud operators simplify work with the new protocol. Many vendors are already supporting IPv6 and may contribute to implementation.

    “Of course, protocol adaptation slows down if the company does not have the tools and guidelines to facilitate migration,” commented Sergey Belkin, head of the development department at 1cloud. - To migrate to IPv6, you need to carefully work out the migration plan, building on the problems, requirements and needs of the business.

    To simplify the work with the new version of the protocol for our clients, we decided to prepare a series of step-by-step instructions on popular user issues, where we will give a number of recommendations for setting up. We expect this to help smooth out the difficulties in implementing IPv6. ”


    Graham Lewis (Graham Lewis), engineer at Spitfire Network Services, a British Internet service provider, stresses that as long as everything works on IPv4, the mass transition to the new version of the protocol will not happen. Some companies have concerns that during migration, they will have to spend a lot of money on the purchase of new equipment, and only large IT companies can afford large-scale experiments with IPv6.

    However, the community has already come up with certain methods that reduce costs. For example, the purchase of new equipment can be “timed”to the planned update of the server fleet, which allows you to kill two birds with one stone at a time. And if a company uses the services of a cloud provider, then the company can take on some of the costs. In this case, you will have to pay only for the connection of a new IP address.

    Different providers have different prices, but in general the amount should be less than the one that can be spent on the development of its network. For example, in our 1cloud connection a new IPv6 costs 50 rubles. The same will be the monthly payment for maintaining it (there is no need to pay a “monthly fee” for the first address). Plus, if necessary, the IPv6 service can be turned off to save money.

    There are suspicions that the addresses are not over.

    Internet registrars have long warned that IPv4 addresses are running out. In April, the RIPE gave the last free block, while the other registrars have run out of blocks a long time ago - from someone in 2011. The last registrar, who still has IPv4 addresses, is AFRINIC , however, his “resource” will soon come to an end (presumably in April of the next year).

    Some members of the IT community believe that the problem of exhaustion of IPv4 can be solved without the introduction of IPv6. You just need to return the unclaimed addresses and start issuing them to the companies not in blocks, but in the quantities that they really need. But there is a problem - to find such addresses is not easy, because their registry was not kept.

    Another solution may be buying and selling addresses at special auctions . For example, a year ago, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) , they found 14 million unused IP addresses. Eight million of them were sold. However, there is a difficulty. Constant (and uncontrolled) resale of addresses can lead to an increase in routing tables, which will cause memory problems for routers.

    / Flickr / Tim Dorr / CC

    Why IPv6 is still worth implementing

    In fact, IPv4 has never been a production version. Vinton Gray Surf (Vint Cerf), one of the “fathers” of the Internet and the developers of the TCP / IP protocol stack, explains : “When the IPv4 protocol was created, the developers had no idea how many devices would connect to the network. Therefore, the number of addresses calculated based on the number of inhabitants of the planet. After the results of the experiment would show how many addresses the world needs, it was planned to launch a “full-fledged” version of the protocol. ”

    But IPv4 "broke" outside the experiment and began to be used everywhere. Therefore, many companies intend to switch (or have already transferred) to the new version of the protocol. IPv6 is not intended to replace the end of IPv4, it is a fundamentally new solution with additional features.

    One of the advantages of IPv6 is the ability to opt out of using NAT. The new version of the protocol allows you to assign each device in the network its own address, which eliminates the difficulty of identifying users and simplifies routing .

    “NAT, like many other technologies, is an exclusive tool that can make both better and worse. Yes, it allows you to save addresses by translating several internal IP addresses into one external public IP address, - said Sergey Belkin. - However, this feature creates a number of problems.

    For example, if in a company where they use NAT, all employees will log into one resource, the server may “think” that the DoS has begun. It will block access to all devices with corporate IP. Switching to IPv6 - where each device has its own address - completely eliminates the situation with a “false” DoS attack.

    Another reason for the transition to IPv6 is its increased performance. The new protocol is faster than IPv4 in Europe, Africa and Oceania. In Asia and the Americas, the speed of the old and new protocols is about the same, but this situation will have to change in the foreseeable future. According to Jeff Houston of APNIC, when everyone implements IPv6, protocol performance will improve significantly, and it will outrun IPv4 in connection speed and reliability.

    What is the result

    The curve of adaptation of the new protocol on Google is moving up. However, the question of when the global transition to IPv6 will occur remains open.

    Some believe that the thousand most popular sites will support IPv6 by 2021. According to British IT journalist and PC Pro editor Derien Graham-Smith (Darien Graham-Smith), everything is ready for the mass migration to IPv6, companies need only decide to take this step. Representatives of regional Internet registrars predict that due to the depletion of IPv4 addresses, migration to IPv6 will occur in the next 10 years.

    How - half as a joke, half seriously - notes Graeme-Smith, in this case, the exhaustion of IP-addresses do not have to think for at least another million years.

    You can start experimenting with IPv6 networks now. For example, in you can deploy a virtual test environment in a few minutes. You can connect IPv6 on all of our sites, except for SDN-1 in St. Petersburg (the service will appear there a little later).

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