Today is World IPv6 Launch Day, where some of the worlds leading network providers, social networks, search engines and content providers have committed to not only adding IPv6 addressing to their networks and websites, but unlike last year, this time it will be a permanent change.
Some of the companies who are participating this year include Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Akamai, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Microsoft Bing, Cisco, AT&T, D-Link, Australia’s own Internode, and many more.
VentraIP Group has proudly operated an IPv6-enabled network since its inception in 2009, with IPv6 addresses assigned to all of our non-cPanel infrastructure and allocations of 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 IPv6 addresses being given to all of our VPS customers as part of their service.
But the sense of urgency in launching IPv6 is being laced with fear, as the worlds IPv4 address space begins to run out. And even more importantly, the Asia Pacific region, whose IP space is controlled by APNIC, is on to their last allocation of IPv4 addresses which will soon be exhausted.
As a web hosting company, our biggest problem with IPv6 addressing is the lack of support from our control panel provider, cPanel, and in our personal experience it seems as if the Asia Pacific IPv4 crisis is not registering with those in the United States. Last year when we attended HostingCon 2011 in San Diego, we spoke to representatives from both cPanel and ARIN (who controls the IP space in the United States), and the sense of urgency simply did not seem to be apparent.
To the contrary, during our brief conversation with one of the technical guys from ARIN, he chuckled when we told him that we were running out of IPv4 address space in Australia, and replied “just come get some from us, we’ve got plenty!”. While we understand that this is not the same attitude of those higher up in ARIN, it seems to be the general consensus on the ground which, we believe, is causing companies like cPanel to drag the chain when it comes to IPv6 implementation.
We understand that adding IPv6 functionality and support in to an application like cPanel is a major leap forward, but at what stage do customers of cPanel in the Asia Pacific region, which covers countries like China, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia, need to stand up and say “we’re going to start losing business, help us now!”? That message is exactly what we intend on giving to everybody at HostingCon 2012 in Boston that is wearing a cPanel t-shirt, as the sense of urgency in this region needs to be made crystal clear.
But on the flip side, Australian ISP’s have not been in any hurry to implement IPv6 support for their customers, which completely negates the point of cPanel having IPv6 connectivity. In fact, Internode are the only ISP we know of that actually gives it’s residential customers dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Telstra Wholesale allow customers on their leased line services to trial IPv6, and that appears to be it.
We’re hopeful that today more major Australian ISP’s will commit to delivering IPv6 services to their residential and business customers, which will give companies like us a louder voice to service providers who don’t support IPv6.
What is IPv6?
IPv6 is simply a new type of IP address standard that will (eventually) replace the IPv4 addresses. Most of you would have seen an IPv4 address before, which looks something like 192.168.0.1, but an IPv6 address looks completely different. IPv6 addresses now incorporate numbers, letters A through F and colons (:).
Here is an example of what an IPv4 traceroute looks like to Facebook:
1 gw1.syd.ventraip.net.au (18.104.22.168) 0.327 ms 0.447 ms 0.373 ms
2 ge-0-1-40-1-mel.as45638.net.au (22.214.171.124) 13.298 ms 13.364 ms 13.3 50 ms
3 ge-0-0-2-162.bdr01.mel04.vic.VOCUS.net.au (126.96.36.199) 14.469 ms 14.463 ms 14.447 ms
4 ge-0-1-0.cor01.syd03.nsw.VOCUS.net.au (188.8.131.52) 182.707 ms 182.649 m s 182.634 ms
5 ten-1-3-0.cor02.syd03.nsw.VOCUS.net.au (184.108.40.206) 27.279 ms 27.410 ms 27.342 ms
6 pos-1-2-2.bdr02.sjc01.ca.VOCUS.net.au (220.127.116.11) 182.568 ms 182.751 m s 182.761 ms
7 facebook.com.any2ix.coresite.com (18.104.22.168) 190.261 ms 189.465 ms 189.419 ms
8 xe-1-3-0.br01.dfw1.tfbnw.net (22.214.171.124) 222.399 ms 222.103 ms 222.128 ms
9 xe-5-0-0.bb01.atl1.tfbnw.net (126.96.36.199) 263.879 ms xe-4-0-0.bb02.atl1.tfbnw.net (188.8.131.52) 248.864 ms xe-5-0-0.bb01.atl1.tfbnw.net (184.108.40.206) 263.800 ms
10 ae22.bb02.iad1.tfbnw.net (220.127.116.11) 251.906 ms ae22.bb02.iad2.tfbnw.net (18.104.22.168) 248.731 ms ae22.bb02.iad1.tfbnw.net (22.214.171.124) 252.821 ms
11 ae1.dr02.ash4.tfbnw.net (126.96.36.199) 252.509 ms 252.367 ms 252.482 ms
12 po509.csw01b.ash4.tfbnw.net (188.8.131.52) 252.916 ms 253.260 ms 253.213 ms
And here is an example tracing the same route with IPv6:
traceroute to facebook.com (2a03:2880:10:1f02:face:b00c:0:25), 30 hops max, 80 byte packets
1 2400:b800:1:1::fffe (2400:b800:1:1::fffe) 0.412 ms 0.415 ms 0.447 ms
2 2400:b800:ffff:ffff::fffe (2400:b800:ffff:ffff::fffe) 13.212 ms 13.176 ms 13.186 ms
3 ge-0-0-0-162.bdr01.mel04.vic.VOCUS.net.au (2402:7800:20:2::d) 13.140 ms 13.175 ms 13.249 ms
4 2402:7800:0:1::85 (2402:7800:0:1::85) 26.082 ms 26.079 ms 26.065 ms
5 ten-1-3-0.cor02.syd03.nsw.VOCUS.net.au (2402:7800:0:1::5a) 26.050 ms 26.328 ms 26.292 ms
6 pos-1-2-2.bdr02.sjc01.ca.vocus.net.au (2402:7800:0:1::b9) 181.767 ms 181.247 ms 181.234 ms
7 2001:504:13::5f (2001:504:13::5f) 232.719 ms 191.185 ms 191.186 ms
8 2620:0:1cff:dead:beee::10d (2620:0:1cff:dead:beee::10d) 191.138 ms 2620:0:1cff:dead:beee::109 (2620:0:1cff:dead:beee::109) 192.992 ms xe-4-3-1.bb02.pao1.tfbnw.net (2620:0:1cff:dead:beef::3ad) 192.369 ms
9 ae12.bb02.prn1.tfbnw.net (2620:0:1cff:dead:beef::155) 211.449 ms ae16.bb01.prn1.tfbnw.net (2620:0:1cff:dead:beef::fa) 210.114 ms ae10.bb02.prn1.tfbnw.net (2620:0:1cff:dead:beef::125) 210.804 ms
10 ae0.dr02.prn1.tfbnw.net (2620:0:1cff:dead:beef::1a1) 213.700 ms ae1.dr01.prn1.tfbnw.net (2620:0:1cff:dead:beef::1c1) 208.018 ms 209.983 ms
11 po1015.csw01a.prn1.tfbnw.net (2620:0:1cff:dead:beef::3a1) 211.403 ms 212.103 ms 212.775 ms
As you can see, they look completely different (and some funny system administrators are including dead bees and dead beef), but essentially it’s the same route.
IPv6 does not improve network speeds or latency, so if anybody has ever told you that, they’re not educated on IPv6. The benefit IPv6 does have is in-built NAT (Network Address Translation). This means that in the very near future every device that connects to the internet will have its very own, unique, IPv6 address, meaning the need for routers to mask and translate your home network range becomes a thing of the past. However, it does mean that internet security does become far more prominent.