07:32 AM
Erik Nygren
Erik Nygren

IPv6: Sweet Spots of Adoption

IPv6 adoption has been surging ahead. Find out how it correlates with network operator adoption, mobile devices, and desktop operating systems.

In the second half of 2013, Akamai has seen IPv6 adoption double. A large part of this increase is due to a surge in adoption by residential broadband networks in the U.S. and Germany, as we discussed in the first part of this series.

Within the United States, IPv6 adoption continues to grow as multiple major network operators actively roll out IPv6 and as the number of client devices supporting IPv6 increases. Comcast has taken the lead in global IPv6 traffic volume delivered by Akamai, quadrupling the percentage of IPv6 traffic to dual-stack sites. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Google Fiber also continue to expand their IPv6 deployments, with more than a third of the traffic to dual-stacked sites from the latter two arriving over IPv6.

While IPv6 traffic from Time Warner Cable and T-Mobile USA was still in the single digits in December, both increased rougly tenfold in just six months. T-Mobile USA is now shipping many Android 4.4 phones with only IPv6 enabled by default, with IPv4 connectivity using DNS64+NAT64+464xlat.

Continued IPv6 rollout by these U.S. carriers over the course of 2014 is likely to make a significant impact on both U.S. and global IPv6 adoption figures.

IPv6 adoption continues across the globe, with larger networks having a more significant impact on the IPv6 adoption metrics for their countries. In Europe and Asia, multiple networks within Germany and Japan have been actively rolling out IPv6, with a few of them doubling their IPv6 penetration over the course of six months. In South America, Telefonica del Peru has been heavily responsible for the significant growth of IPv6 within Peru.

World IPv6 Launch measures additional network operator IPv6 adoption from a number of content providers. Some of the variation is due to different measurement methodologies employed by each of the content providers.

IPv6 and mobile

IPv6 usage in mobile devices did not grow as dramatically during the past six months, primarily due to the already high degree of IPv6 usage in Verizon Wireless in June, resulting in relatively smaller increases in IPv6. Some numbers even went down, likely due to increasing deployments of some of these devices in networks that do not yet have IPv6 connectivity.

IPv6 and desktop/laptop operating systems

Desktop and laptop operating systems saw more significant global increases due at least in part to increasing IPv6 deployments in some large broadband networks. More than 5% of global requests to dual-stacked sites from many of the more recent operating systems now arrive over IPv6. One notable exception is Safari under recent versions of Mac OS X as it alternates between using IPv6 and IPv4 based on network conditions.

Preliminary numbers for the Microsoft XBox One console also show it to be similar to many desktop operating systems (around 5%).

Erik Nygren is chief architect in Akamai's platform engineering organization and has been with Akamai since June of 1999. Among other responsibilities, Erik is leading the platform architecture for Akamai's IPv6 initiative. He is a long-time member and current chair of ... View Full Bio
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