Progress in IPv6 Deployment

For many years, IPv6 existed as a set of RFCs, and in labs, but was not being widely deployed. This began changing significantly starting in 2011, then again in 2012, triggered by end of normal IPv4 allocation first in APNIC, and then in RIPE, plus the two World IPv6 Days. In terms of Regions, APNIC is furthest along with IPv6 deployment (they were the first to end normal IPv4 allocation on 15 April 2011, and they have the largest underserved populations). RIPE is next furthest along (they were the second RIR to end normal IPv4 allocation, on 14 Sept 2012). ARIN has some very large Internet companies that have switched to IPv6 (but they are really Multinational Corporations), including Google, YouTube and Facebook. As for the enterprise market in North America, it is still in denial. ARIN will probably end normal allocation of IPv4 in early 2015, and about a year after that organizations there will get serious about IPv6.

Here are some charts to help you see the progress in IPv6 deployment.


RIPE NCC Percentage of AS Networks That Are Running IPv6 -

These show the increasing percentage of AS networks that have measured IPv6 traffic on them (this is not the same as total traffic). This is not affected by language.

The first shows the five RIRs and the world average. It is interesting how the order of the RIRs has remained largely unchanged since 2011: APNIC, RIPE, LACNIC, AfriNIC and ARIN. APNIC has been in first place and ARIN in last place, since 2004.



The next chart shows the same thing, but for the leading countries in Asia/Pac, including the world average (note the vertical scale is different). It is interesting that Malaysia was doing very well, but now seems to be losing ground. Japan and Singapore lead the pack. Singapore had been lagging, but really took off at the beginning of 2011. Thailand, India and China all come in right around the world average today.



The next chart shows the same thing, but for the leading countries in EU/ME, including the world average. Note the vertical scale is different again, due primarily to Norway, which leads the world. The others listed are above the world average (and comparable to Asia/Pac countries), but well below Norway.




Eric Vyncke's IPv6 Deployment Aggregated Status -

The next charts are from Eric Vyncke's site, and show percentage of sites in the Alexa top 50 that have IPv6 enabled for web, email and DNS, worldwide. Note the big jumps on World IPv6 Day (8 June 2011) and World IPv6 Launch Day (6 June 2012). On World IPv6 Day (2011), organizations were supposed to turn on IPv6 for 24 hours to see how it worked. On World IPv6 Launch Day (2012) they were supposed to turn it on and leave it on. The graphs show that is pretty much what happened, although after World IPv6 Day, some chose to leave it on. It is a shame, given how effective the two World IPv6 Days were at increasing IPv6 deployment worldwide, that there was not a third one in 2013.


ipv6 on alexa top 50


ipv6 email on alexa top 50


ipv6 dns in alexa top 50

Google IPv6 Statistics -

This chart shows the percentage of all users connecting to Google that connected over IPv6 from anywhere in the world. Almost all of this is now over "native" IPv6 - Teredo and 6to4 are almost non-existent today. "Native" includes traffic over 6in4 and 6rd tunnels, since there is no way to tell the difference from a website. Also, Google is an English language site, hence does not reflect IPv6 usage by non-English speakers.



The global number from Google reached 2% for the first time this week. It reached 1% Dec 2, 2012, so it has doubled in the last 10 months. Since this measures web access, this figure is now low because of Happy Eyeballs - many browsers are now connecting over IPv4 even when IPv6 is available. The large fluctuations based on time of day is proof that the majority of connections tracked here are from US timezones. If usage was more evenly spread around the world, there would not be such large fluctuations linked to the time of day in the U.S.

Google also reports percent usage over IPv6 by country (data as of 26 September 2013):

Romania - 7.72%
France - 5.07%
Germany - 4.31%
U.S. - 4.22%
Japan- 3.27%
Norway - 1.31%
China - 0.58%
Australia - 0.38%
Indonesia - 0.28%
Russia - 0.22%
Malaysia - 0.12%
South Korea - 0.0%   (!!)

The numbers for China and South Korea are very low, probably because not many people there surf to English language sites. Japan is probably lower than it should be for the same reason.


Lars Eggerts IPv6 Deployment Trends -

Lars' site periodically checks DNS for the resource records of the Alexa Top 500 websites globally, and in several countries, for the presence of a AAAA record. It does not verify whether it works if you actually try connecting to that IPv6 address. Note that per-country data is for the top 500 sites in that country, so the global top 500 is a much more select group of websites, which is why the percentage is higher than any one country. Data below are as of 26 September 2013. The country level statistics are not influenced by language issues, since most websites in a country will be in that country's language.

Global Top 500 - 22.4%
Germany Top 500 - 11.8%
South Korea Top 500 - 10.0%
India Top 500 - 9.8%
U.S. Top 500 - 9.6%
Finland Top 500 - 9.0%
U.K. Top 500 - 8.4%
Japan Top 500 - 8.2%
China Top 500 - 5.0%


Cisco 6lab -

The 6lab information is the most comprehensive, and tracks percent of allocated address blocks that also have IPv6 blocks, percent of transit infrastructure deployed, percent of content accessible over IPv6, percent of users who have deployed IPv6 and overall Deployment. All of these values are percentages. It also assigns a rank (10.0 being top in the world). The data in this table are taken from the above website as of 26 September 2013, and is sorted by Rank.


I will try to keep this updated, but you can check the original sites at any time to get the most recent information, as well as more detailed information on exactly what they are tracking, and how. The data for China and S. Korea are highly inaccurate (see below).


Referrals to IPv6 Forum Website

This table shows the top 30 sites from which referrals to the IPv6 Forum website come. This is a largely language independent metric. Even though the IPv6 Forum website itself is in English, the referral tags (WWW enabled) are on a wide variety of websites in many languages. This is for the month of September, 2013.

ipv6forum referrals

The number one referring site in the world, with almost 2.5 million referrals in one month, was the website of Central China Normal University (in China). Actually, sixteen (over half) of the top 30 are from China. Several others in the top 30 are from other Chinese speaking countries (three from Taiwan and one from Singapore). There were also three from Thailand, two from Malaysia and one from Indonesia. The only only two not from Asia were both from Costa Rica (actually two sites at the same company). There was not a single website from EU or US in the top 30.

This is a strong indication of heavy IPv6 activity and interest in Asia and particularly in China, not proof of actual deployment. The referrals are from "WWW Enabled" logos, which are only issued to sites that are proven to be running IPv6. However, most of those websites are actually dual stack, and if someone connects to such a site over IPv4, they can still click that link and reach the IPv6 Forum website. Therefore a lot of those referrals may have been over IPv4.

[Thanks to Latif Ladid, President of IPv6 Forum, for sharing this information.]


Bottom Line

There are a number of ways to measure IPv6 progress - it is something like the old story about the blind men and the elephant (one thought it was like a rope, another like a wall, another like a tree trunk, etc - depending on what part they happened to touch). 

Clearly content made a big leap forward on IPv6 World Launch Day, and has maintained that level since (but hasn't really grown). Usage by end users (reflecting lower-tier ISP deployment) has finally started increasing and varies from little if any to almost 9% in different countries, with a worldwide average of 2% (definitely low because of Happy Eyeballs).

In terms of transit, countries in Asia and EU are well ahead of the U.S. because those areas ran out of IPv4 first. The leading countries in transit, in decreasing order, are Sweden, Norway, Finland, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Thailand, India, Belgium, France, Malaysia, Spain, Australia, Portugal and then U.S. Below the U.S. it drops off rapidly.

China is suprisingly low in all aspects of these measurements (at least as seen from outside China), likely because of language issues, the "Great Firewall of China", and internal controls on Internet access (especially to sites outside of China). Information on internal infrastructure may not be readily available outside of China. Much of their Internet infrastructure was built with Huawei and ZTE equipment, so Cisco does not have detailed information on it like they do in most countries. Most Huawei and ZTE products (especially high end routers and other infrastructure products) have supported IPv6 for many years. Internally, there is massive deployment of IPv6. CERNET2, part of the CNGI project, is the largest IPv6 network in the world (and has been for many years). CNGI links 300 of their universities together, mostly over IPv6. There are actually more Chinese speaking Internet users today than of any other language (including English), and many of them are using IPv6. For various reasons, not many of these users hit the sites used in the 6lab and Google measurements.

South Korea is actually fairly far along in deployment (I've attended several IPv6 summits there), but since English is not widely spoken, it does not show up in many of the measurements above. Within their own Alexa 500 sites (mostly in Hangul, the language of Korea) 10% of the sites already support IPv6 (second highest in the world). And apparently 0 people are using all of these sites (!!). Again, Korea uses a lot of domestic network brands, like Samsung, rather than Cisco. The data on S. Korea from both Google and Cisco 6lab are not even close to reality.

India is also making good progress on IPv6 - see their National IPv6 Deployment Roadmap Version II. This is proceeding nicely. The effort and funding that rolled out 500M cell phones is now being directed towards IPv6. The 6lab "users" rating is only 0.09%, but Lars' "top 500" rating is 9.8% (third highest in the world). Something is not adding up.

The 6lab and Google neasurements are of the English Speaking Internet, which is no longer the largest part of the real Internet. The IPv6 Internet is the first truly global Internet. We need better measurement tools - ones that are language independent and not done from a U.S. perspective. The RIPE "AS networks" and Lars' "top 500" metrics are good examples. China is still going to be a challenge to measure, especially from outside.

The good news in the U.S. is that several of the largest content providers (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Netflix) based there have been big supporters of IPv6, and a few U.S. ISPs have finally begun rolling out IPv6 service to end users (usage is now twice the global average at 4.22%, according to Google). Very few U.S. enterprises have begun deployment because the leading industry research company has told them they don't need to worry about it yet. This may change a year or two after ARIN runs out of IPv4 addresses (currently estimated to happen around end of 2014, early 2015).