IPv6: “The greater the delay, the greater the investment”

IPv6: “The greater the delay, the greater the investment”

Less than two months away from the final phase of IPv4 exhaustion in Latin America and the Caribbean, Internet expert Azael Fernández Alcántara, researcher at UNAM Mexico and Chair of the Latin American IPv6 Forum, expressed his concern about the low IPv6 adoption rates in the LAC region.
Fernández Alcántara noted that the delay in adopting and deploying IPv6 will entail additional costs for organizations throughout the region, as they will be forced to invest more once they actually decide to adopt the latest version of the Internet protocol.
The Chair of the Latin American IPv6 Forum stressed that IPv6 should not be seen as “something optional or to be dealt with in the distant future” but as an essential reality.

This past semester, global IPv6 traffic has grown more than 1% every 2 months. In your opinion, what is the reason for this growth?

The fact that more and more users and devices have IPv6 enabled by default and an increasing number of providers are also providing IPv6 connectivity, in some regions more than in others.
Also, the fact that the number of available IPv4 addresses in rapidly decreasing, which makes IPv6 the best option.
Companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Microsoft announced and have made important progress in terms of their products supporting IPv6.
An analysis of Google data shows that IPv6 traffic was 16.80% in December 2016 vs. 10% in December 2015, a growth of almost 7% in just one year. In this case, a 1% monthly increase in connectivity during the year would be a good indicator, as at the end of 2017 it would reach 25%.

How does the status of IPv6 traffic in Latin America and the Caribbean compare to these global numbers, particularly to other regions?

IPv6 adoption rates remain low, but in certain countries such as Peru and Ecuador they have grown at rates that are equivalent or even higher than those of other continents.

Almost a year ago, a study by LACNIC and CAF warned of a certain delay in the adoption of IPv6 in the LAC region. Has the situation changed since then? In your opinion, which factors are hindering IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean? What actions should be implemented by the region’s organizations to keep up with global IPv6 deployment rates?

Not much has changed, or at least no significant changes can be perceived. Even the region’s major ISPs are not massively rolling out IPv6 to end users (corporate users and the general public).
There are many possible actions. First, it is important not to consider IPv6 as something optional or to be dealt with in the future, for example, by requiring IPv6 support in purchases and tenders.
Establishing regulations and policies for equipment, applications and services so they will support both versions of the Internet protocol; progressively enabling IPv6, an example of which is the deployment at Telecentro in Argentina.

Do you think that companies are aware of the need to adopt IPv6 or do they still see this as an issue that will only affect them in the distant future?

Certain key companies and organizations still consider IPv6 as something to be dealt with in the future, as they do not see an immediate or short-term return on the investment. However, they don’t seem to realize that the greater the delay, the greater their investment. Likewise, maintaining two versions for a long time will be more expensive than just using IPv6.

Is there awareness of the need to push policies to promote IPv6 deployment at State level?

Unfortunately, most States are not aware of this need. They might also help increase supply and grow the market of products and services with IPv6 support.

Today, approximately 1,050 of the region’s 1,717 networks are announcing IPv6, 64% more than last year. Is this a good number? Why doesn’t traffic exceed 1%?

The number is important because of what it represents.
As for traffic, as I mentioned earlier, while the region’s major ISPs don’t offer IPv6, regional numbers will remain low, but not insignificant. Instead, they might rather be a catalyst for change.
According to RIPE statistics, globally, almost 30% of networks (ASNs) announce an IPv6 prefix.
In Latin America this number is 36.34% (2,016 out of 5,548 ASNs); in ARIN it is 28.66%; in RIPE, 28.31%; in APNIC, 30.28%; in AFRINIC, 2.70%
This means that IPv6 deployment in the LAC region is not so bad in terms of the number of ASNs, but low in terms of traffic as a whole.

What can you tell us about your experience in the Latin American IPv6 Forum?

It has been a very positive and comforting experience to know that, although the number and quality of the work presented at FLIP6 has decreased, there are still many innovative implementations and the interest and need for IPv6 remains.