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Internet industry reports progress on IPv6, but work remains

Adam Bender | June 7, 2013
One-year anniversary of World IPv6 Launch Day.

"Unfortunately, it's a little bit like watching the flood waters rise around you and saying, 'I'll think about leaving my island when the water's a bit higher,' by which time it's kind of too late."

Akamai senior manager of Australasia, Ian Teague, said supporting IPv6 is "one of these things that needs to be done, it needs to be worked in the background. If you don't do it, then it can sneak up on you and be a real problem."

A government mandate could be one way to encourage change, he said. For example, the US has required all government agencies to have public-facing websites and email services available over IPv6.

IPv6 traffic has grown significantly in the past year, but it started from a "very low base," said Teague.

"I think you'll see that as all the connected devices ... start coming into play and when all the IPv4 addresses really do run out, any IPv4 hoarding that may have occurred will start to wane and we'll suddenly see a big uptick in IPv6."

ISPs should continue "to keep a close eye on it at a grassroots to make sure that they if they see this uptick, they're ready and have capacity plans in place."

Lindsay said he doesn't yet see a "crisis" in Australia, but has concerns about "sub-optimal" technological workarounds to IPv4 exhaustion such as carrier-grade NAT being used by Optus on its mobile network. The technology allows many customers to share a small number of IPv4 addresses.

IP address sharing can result in greater network congestion, said Lindsay, comparing the practice to an apartment building with a single street entrance. "In the morning and the evening, it's a very busy place and sometimes you've got to wait in the queue to get out the door."

IP address sharing enabled the recent unintentional blocking of 250,000 websites by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, said Clark. The ASIC used section 313 of the Telecommunications Act 10 times to block websites, but ended up unintentionally blocking thousands of others.

 

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