The new Chair of the Latin American IPv6 Forum, Mexican engineer Azael Fernández Alcántara, observed that IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean must be promoted, as there is still a long way to go until its widespread adoption.
Fernández Alcántara, head of the IPv6 project at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) and coordinator of the IPv6 working groups at CUDI (University Corporation for Internet Development) and CLARA, noted that few Latin American and Caribbean countries have promoted IPv6 at governmental level, which is why academia and the private sector have led regional deployment efforts.
In an interview with LACNIC, Fernández Alcántara predicted that the Internet of Things will be the “killer app” that will accelerate IPv6 deployment, as new uses and devices will bring about an urgent need for the new protocol.
What do you think of IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean?
I think IPv6 deployment is moving along at a fairly acceptable pace, especially in certain countries such as Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. However, we have yet to see major mass public deployments with large numbers of users.
In your opinion, which sectors are ahead and which are still behind in terms of IPv6 deployment?
If by sector we mean academia, government, and the corporate sector, in our region I would have to say the academic sector is the leader. However, in the countries I mentioned earlier, the academic-corporate sector has shown the greatest progress.
At government level, only countries such as Cuba and Colombia have implemented proper policies for promoting the use of IPv6.
As compared to the rest of the world, do you think the region has a proper process in place for migrating to IPv6?
Yes, I do. But instead of speaking of a migration —which implies abandoning or no longer using IPv4— I’d say what we’re seeing is mostly coexistence and a transition to IPv6. Nevertheless, we’ve already started noticing some examples of migration, specifically among certain mobile network operators.
We have good levels of IPv6 network and prefix requests, but we still need more IPv6 case studies and utilization success stories. It’s not enough to simply assign or allocate IPv6 blocks —the protocol must actually be used in public services and in production.
Regarding the new challenge you’ve recently taken on, what motivates you to play this role within the community?
The idea of maintaining acceptable levels of IPv6 utilization in our region, as well as a desire to contribute to this natural evolution of the Internet. Also, the enthusiastic participation of everyone involved.
What remains to be done in order to accelerate deployment of IPv6?
Perhaps the Internet of Things will be the “killer app” we’ve been waiting for that will accelerate IPv6 deployment, as new uses and devices will bring about an urgent need to use IPv6 instead of IPv4.
What do you think about the IPv4 exhaustion process and the scope of its various phases?
I believe it’s being implemented more or less naturally, taking into account our region’s peculiarities. Nevertheless, we must continue to participate in the policy discussions that are taking place both in our region as well as in others and which could potentially impact these phases.
To understand its true impact, the region’s IPv4 exhaustion phases must be contextualized for each country and end user.
When an organization qualifies for a block size that no longer remains in the ARIN IPv4 inventory, they are given the option to either accept a smaller block that is available to fully satisfy their request, or to be placed on the waiting list for unmet requests. As we do with all IPv4 tickets, we take action on customer responses in the date/time stamp order that they were received. We are able to look ahead in our IPv4 response queue and see that we will take the registration actions described above during this business week.
Once we take the registration action of issuing a smaller block than what was qualified for, or place an organization on the waiting list for unmet requests, we will issue an announcement to the community and a press release.
At the time of this post, there is less than 1% of a /8 equivalent remaining in the ARIN IPv4 free pool. The only prefix sizes remaining are /23s and /24s.
More information: https://www.arin.net/resources/request/waiting_list.html
Peru’s IPv6 transition is setting a regional example. In addition to leading all end-user traffic statistics, Peruvian organizations and Internet companies are promoting the quick adoption of this Internet technology.
During the LACNIC meeting held in Lima, Ivan Chumo, General Manager of Optical Networks, shared this Peruvian Internet Service Provider’s experiences in transitioning to IPv6.
Chumo admitted that, once the decision to adopt IPV6 had been made, deployment ended up being easier and less expensive than they’d thought
Years of experience in IPv6 implementation have led to the conclusion that one of the pillars for IPv6 adoption is buy-in by decision makers. In your specific case, how did you come to be in a position to make this decision?
I’ve participated in several LACNIC events where the consistent message was “IPv4 will run out in just three years; in August next year IPv4 will be gone,” yet the fear of investing and the risk that another market player might lead the way are always there. In our country, we noticed that the incumbent operator began transitioning part of its ADSL customer base to IPv6. Since our main line of business lies within the corporate segment, we concluded that this transition was in fact a pressing need. About two years ago, I presented this idea to the Board and obtained their approval to start working on transitioning to IPv6.
What would have happened if another market player had embarked on the transition before you?
We began our transition to IPv6 to avoid being the last ones to do so. Even though we are not the dominant operator, we need to be watchful of the direction the market takes — given that most of our customers are corporate customers, we had no choice but to do this. In parallel, certain public as well as private companies have yet to grasp the urgency of transitioning to IPv6. As both protocols will continue to coexist for some time, operators don’t feel the need to migrate and are delaying their decision to do so. To us, IPv4 exhaustion means that we have already reached the IPv6 starting line.
Do you believe your decision to deploy IPv6 has encouraged others to begin considering their own deployment plans?
Many people have realized that they must be prepared.
What were the largest investments needed for the migration?
Surprisingly, the costs involved in the migration were not that high, as all equipment manufactured in recent years is already is IPv6 ready. Our main efforts focused on providing training for our staff and making sure that everyone was ready to manage our different platforms, something for which LACNIC’s annual meetings have been an invaluable resource.
How did the Engineering staff react to the changes ?
Our Engineering Department is always very open to new technologies and change.
What is the general feeling regarding IPv6 deployment in an organization such as Optical Networks ?
There’s a feeling of calm in the face of the future, as it’s always necessary to be prepared for change, combined with a feeling of great expectation, as we hope that at some point the corporate segment will react and demand IPv6 implementation.
Is this not happening today? Isn’t the market demanding IPv6?
No; neither the corporate market nor the residential market are demanding IPv6, let alone the Government sector. In Peru, for example, we are working together with several groups interested in promoting the transition, while simultaneously talking with members of parliament to get the Government to at least commit to an IPv6 transition timeline. This would create an incentive for the private sector to start working on the transition themselves.
According to Hans Reyes, the expert in charge of coordinating Mexico’s National Academic Network, the technical teams of most of the region’s organizations and Internet companies are lacking specific training, a fact that is delaying IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Reyes believes that this lack of IPv6 knowledge has led the region to underestimate the protocol designed to replace IPv4 and fail to consider its true value for Internet development.
Reyes was interviewed in Lima during LACNIC23, where he noted that it is high time for IPv6 to be considered a key tool that will improve Internet application performance. In the words of the noted Mexican expert, “It is no longer a topic of research. The time has come to deploy the protocol at academic and commercial level.”
How much do you think IPv6 is growing in the academic sector?
Its use is currently experiencing much growth. Although many think of IPv6 as a topic of research, most Mexican universities have plans for adopting IPv6 within a relatively reasonable time frame.
What difficulties does IPv6 deployment face in our region?
One of the major issues we’ve noticed throughout Latin America is that people are not trained to implement IPv6. The technical community must see value in IPv6. Right now, the entire IPv6 protocol can be used within IPv4, and this is why many people don’t see any value in Ipv6 deployment, but instead think of the new protocol as a topic of research, when in fact it is already needed in production to increase application performance. The reason we have such low penetration rates is that everyone is trying to see how they can implement IPv6. There are several cases in Mexico where universities have deployed IPv6 and it is already in production.
Another problem we faced was content. There used to be very little IPv6 content; now, however, major providers such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft already support IPv6 on their networks, something that was not possible until recently.
There was also the issue of lack of IPv6 access. I’ve already deployed IPv6, so has the content network, yet the provider hasn’t. They were in a similar situation, as they didn’t see what value IPV6 would bring to their infrastructure; they considered it a cost with no clear return on the investment. This has now changed and most Mexican operators already support IPv6.
We also believe that IPv6 adoption by Internet exchange points will accelerate general adoption: once you’re connected to IPv6, you’ll be connected to other content networks.
Do you think it’s easier to deploy IPv6 in the academic sector than in the corporate sector?
It is relatively similar. The difference is that universities do have a role in disseminating and adopting new technologies, so they can have researchers work on their implementation, while a company might be afraid to adopt a solution they might later have to change. That’s the greatest barrier for the private sector.
A university does have a role that is not necessarily commercial, and can therefore invest time and resources to explore different options. Part of a university’s role is to help implement technologies that will be of use to the community in general.
Why do you think IPv6 hasn’t been effectively deployed in Latin America?
Content networks represented the main obstacle. Now that IPv6 content is available, private companies and universities are beginning to adopt the new protocol. One of LACNIC’s roles is to help us so we can all have access to Internet resources such as IP addresses. This will contribute to accelerate IPv6 deployment.
In order to increase the speed of IPv6 adoption, ISPs, governments, companies, and universities should become involved. This is not just about a part of the Internet ecosystem; it is about the Internet ecosystem as a whole.
Why would you encourage someone to attend a LACNIC event?
During the 20 years I’ve been involved with the Internet, these events have given me the chance to meet people who are working on the latest developments. Like a family, LACNIC has welcomed us and supports us in deploying our resources and helps us grow our infrastructure and networks. The events provide great forums for all three parties to meet: academia, government and the private sector. This brings value to everything we do.
Failure on the part of the region’s operators to massively adopt IPv6 has raised concern among specialists.
Tomas Lynch says he had expected greater IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean after last year’s the announcement regarding IPv4 exhaustion.
A member of ISOC and an active participant at LACNOG meetings, Lynch notes that companies have become aware of the need to deploy IPv6 but ¨the use of the new technology is yet to be widespread.”
The expert explained that, within five years, 50 billion devices are expected to be connected to the Internet, and that this will only be possible with IPv6. Speaking to LACNIC News, Lynch warned that “in five years, network operators that don’t use IPv6 will have no share in this market.”
– How do you view IPv6 deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean? Do you think that companies and organizations have become aware of the importance of adopting the new Internet protocol and its massive utilization?
Deployment has been slow in Latin America. Although in certain specific countries IPv6 deployment rates are comparable to those of European countries –namely Peru (12%), Ecuador (4%) and Bolivia (2%)–, the remaining countries have not yet reached 1% penetration and even countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela have very low adoption rates. Considering each country’s population, the conclusion is that the majority of the Latin American and Caribbean population does not have IPv6 connectivity on their devices.
What these penetration rates tell us is that network operators are not massively using IPv6. On the other hand, these companies are already aware of the importance of IPv6. Many of these companies already have plans for deploying the new version of the protocol or are in the process of analyzing their networks to do so. Let’s recall that deployment not only involves providing end users with an IPv6 address, but also adapting security systems, charging systems, etc.
– Taking into account the fact that IPv4 was exhausted last year, were you anticipating greater deployment in the region?
Indeed, after LACNIC’s announcement I thought that companies –particularly local companies– would be quick to begin deploying IPv6. Many of these companies have delayed deployment by using Carrier Grade NAT (CGNAT). To do so, however, they have had to make significant financial investments that would have been better spent on IPv6 deployment.
– 4G technology is booming, which allows many real-time applications to be used from mobile phones. In the book “IPv6 for Network Operators” you argue that “without IPv6, there is a high risk of not being able to continue to provide services to users.” Why IPv6?
The number of devices is growing hand in hand with 4G mobile networks: users want or need connectivity wherever they are, not only for working or sending emails, but also for entertainment such as online videos. This growing number of devices not only requires bandwidth: at least one IP address is required for each device and hundreds of ports are needed for multiple applications. By not deploying IPv6, the number of devices connected to the network is reduced. If we factor in technologies such as CGNAT where a certain number of ports are delivered via IPv4, we will have a network with few users and those few will either not be able to use all their applications at once or they will have to remember to disconnect one application before using another.
The conclusion is that, due to the large number of ports they consume, there is a direct relationship between applications (ranging from home banking to games) and IPv6. As for applications, 85% of them already support IPv6. This means that they are not a barrier to IPv6 deployment.
– Are the various mobile network architectures designed to support IPv6 or are new investments needed?
Among others, mobile network architectures follow 3GPP, ITU-T and IETF standards. In particular, 3GPP has included IPv6 support in its documents since 1999 and even LTE was developed with greater focus on IPv6 than on IPv4. Thanks to these standards, companies that provide products and services for mobile networks already support both IP versions on their equipment. New investments will be needed depending on equipment longevity and whether they are using dual-stack bearers or an IP bearer for each protocol version.
– What might happen if network operators don’t deploy IPv6 on their networks?
They will be left out of the market, as their use of NAT technologies will limit their growth. The investment they will have to make to maintain those systems will be even higher than the cost of a timely IPv6 deployment.
Considering the Latin American and Caribbean reality, how would you convince an operator who already has IPv4 connectivity to invest money and resources so that their local networks can reach the Internet via IPv6?
As Vint Cert said, the business of IPv6 is staying in business. In the long run, any investment made today in IPv6 –whether in equipment, design, system upgrades, or others– will be cheaper than investing and positioning the network’s growth using IPv4 and NAT. In five years, 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, and this will only be possible with IPv6. In five years, network operators that don’t use IPv6 will have no share in this market.
Once upon a time in the not so distant past, a large ISP dominated a country’s telecommunications market and felt powerful and without competition. Whenever someone needed to log on to the Internet they would use their services. Everyone envied their market penetration.
This large ISP, however, had never wanted to deploy IPv6 because they thought their stock of IP addresses was enough and saw no indicator telling them that they needed the new protocol.
During the course of those years, another smaller ISP began implementing IPv6 and slowly began to grow, as they realized that the protocol did indeed make a difference in the eyes of their clients and that it was helping them win over new users.
The small ISP’s market penetration continued to grow, as did their earnings and general respect for their services. As they grew, it became easier for them to obtain better equipment, traffic and interconnection prices. Everything was going very well. The small ISP couldn’t believe that something as simple as deploying IPv6 could be paying off so spectacularly. Their customers told them their needs included running VPNs and holding conference calls with partners in other parts of the world, and that their subsidiaries, customers and business partners in Europe and Asia had already adopted IPv6.
Despite being so powerful, the large ISP began experiencing internal problems that were neither billing nor money related. Sales staff complained that they were having trouble closing many deals because customers had started asking for IPv6 and, although their ISP was so large and important, they simply did not have IPv6 to offer. Both corporate customers and residential users were asking for IPv6; even major state tenders were requiring IPv6.
When this started happening, the Sales Manager complained to the Products, Engineering and Operations departments. The latter were left speechless and some employees were let go by the company. In the end, Sales did not care where the fault lay – they were simply unable to gain new customers. Realizing that they were losing customers, some of the salespeople accepted job offers at the small ISP who was looking to grow their staff as they could now afford the best sales force. Then the same thing happened with the larger ISP’s network manager, an expert who knew a lot about IPv6 but who had been unable to overcome the company’s bureaucracy and bring the new protocol into production. Logically, the network manager was followed by his trusted server administrator and head of security. The large ISP couldn’t believe what was happening right before their very eyes. The sales force hired by the smaller ISP (those who used to work for the large ISP) brought with them their huge customer base, all of them potential prospects.
A stampede of the large ISP’s clients was on the way. The months went by and the smaller ISP was no longer simply offering Internet access – its Data Center had grown, major companies brought in new cache servers and much more. They were now offering co-location, hosting, virtual hosting, voice and video, among many other services.
When the large provider decided to deploy IPv6, it had to do so very quickly. Things went wrong; many errors were made. In addition, certain consultants and companies took advantage of their problems and charged higher rush fees. Network downtime increased, as did the number of calls to the call center. The large ISP’s reputation started to crumble.
As expected, in the end, everyone who was part of this story – clients and providers alike – ended up deploying IPv6. Some ended up happier than others, but everyone adopted IPv6 on their networks.
By Jorge Villa *
Since its inception, the creators of IPv6 envisioned that the Internet we enjoy today would use this new protocol as the basis for communication. However, this has not been the case for different reasons ranging from purely economic aspects to a poor understanding of the importance of IPv6 for the current and future Internet, where mobility and the integration of “things,” data, and processes are changing countless paradigms and triggering a new wave of innovation.
Despite efforts to promote and adopt the new protocol, in December 2014 IPv6 traffic barely represented 5% of total Internet traffic (source: Google). Although some may consider this figure negligible, it is interesting to watch the growing trend it is exhibiting. In early 2013, barely 1% of traffic was IPv6 traffic but during the past 24 months IPv6 growth has been almost exponential and this trend is still on the rise.
A combination of data from Google and APNIC shows that the areas with greater visibility in terms of IPv6 penetration are Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, USA, Norway, France, Romania, and Peru (our region’s main representative on the list). It is interesting to note that areas in which steady work is being carried out in relation to IPv6 (e.g., Brazil and certain Asian countries including China and India) do not yet rank well in these statistics.
Starting in September last year, restrictive IPv4 assignment polies came into force at the five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). While it is still possible to obtain IPv4 addresses under certain conditions, it is increasingly difficult to propose sustained development based on IPv4. With the exception of AFRINIC, the African RIR, the remaining registries have very limited numbers of IPv4 addresses, as does the Central Registry (operated by the IANA) which receives the IPv4 address blocks that have been recovered to be redistributed equally among the five geographical regions into which the Internet world is divided. This situation will necessarily result in higher levels of IPv6 adoption.
In the specific case of Latin America and the Caribbean, the largest percentage of LACNIC’s IPv6 assignments have been made to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Local Internet Registries (LIRs), which places the region in second place (after Europe). As to assignments to organizations that do not resell their services to other parties (i.e., in this context, those considered end users), our region is only ahead of Africa. Despite these numbers, LACNIC has the highest percentage of users with IPv4 and IPv6 address blocks.
The fact that most Latin American and Caribbean IPv6 prefix holders are LIRs/ISPs seems to indicate that the region is currently enjoying conditions that will favor significant growth in the use of this protocol. Brazil is by far the leader in terms of total assignments, followed far behind by Argentina; Colombia, Mexico and Chile are following their steps, though they are still a bit further behind.
However, the effort to achieve large-scale IPv6 integration in the existing Internet infrastructure cannot depend solely on the Internet number community. It is vital for all stakeholders including governments, civil society, network operators, and application and content developers, among others, to become involved in the process.
The Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for the global coordination of the unique identifiers related to the Internet and for ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation. By design, it includes the participation of the various stakeholders involved and interested in Internet development. In this scenario, the Address Supporting Organization (ASO) is the number community’s only representation.
At the moment, I am serving as Latin American and Caribbean representative to the ASO’s Address Council (AC). Although our primary responsibility lies in the development of global policies that guide the work between the central registry and the RIRs, during the past several ICANN meetings, taking advantage of the audience’s multistakeholder nature, we have prepared and taught tutorials on IPv6. Likewise, we have also set up working sessions with different stakeholders to provide visibility to the number community. The first 2015 annual ICANN meeting will be held next month in Singapore. Fortunately, the second meeting will be held in Buenos Aires during the month of June and should provide a new opportunity to promote IPv6 adoption within our region.
In the case of IPv6, the Latin American and Caribbean region is in a favorable position to participate in this global Internet change. We must rely on our strengths and capabilities, achieve results, and not waste any time waiting for guidance from more developed countries on how to move forward, otherwise we may once again be left behind and unable to implement the protocol properly.
*Representative of the Latin America and Caribbean region to the ASO Address Council (AC)
This year, I’d like to write a text that is somewhat different from the ones I’ve written before. Why? Well, because this year is different from others in many ways. For reasons of brevity, however, I will only dwell on two.
a) This will be my last period as list moderator; I will not participate in the election for 2015-2017 (a call for nominations will soon be published); and
b) In my personal opinion, there has been significant IPv6 deployment this year in the LAC region.
Based on the above, particularly item number 2, and considering that 2014 is coming to an end, I think this is the best time to use the word “retrospective,” defined by Wikipedia  as “…..a look back at events that already have taken place.” I will comment about what has happened in our region.
Neither a statesman nor a writer, I nevertheless present you with my humble analysis.
This particular case has been much debated on the mailing list, so much so that it involved one of the stormiest email exchanges in recent years.   
At this time, at least according to Google, IPv6 penetration in the Peru is 10%, which makes it the only country in our region with double-digit IPv6 penetration rates and has allowed the country to join the group of countries with penetration levels higher than 10% along with Germany (12.35), the United States (10.95), and Switzerland (10.28) (I hope I have not forgotten any other).
As additional information, in May 2014, LACNIC began monitoring IPv6 traffic within the countries of our service region. In the case of Peru, our first measurements resulted in a penetration rate of 4.6%, which would sometimes fall to 3.4%. After 18 June, we noticed a steady growth of IPv6 traffic, which reached more than 10%.
Ecuador is a country with a relatively low Internet penetration rate among its population (35% in 2012 according to ). Its infrastructure, however, has improved dramatically over the last 2.5 years – according to . For this reason, for the purpose of this analysis, I will assume that Ecuador has an Internet penetration rate of 40%.
According to our observations, Ecuador is the LAC country with the fastest-growing IPv6 adoption rate – in less than 60 days the country went from less than 1% to more than 3.6%.
Given that 40% of approximately 16,000,000 inhabitants can connect to the Internet, this means that, between October and December, the number of subscribers grew from 64,000 subscribers to 229,000.
For this particular country I would have liked to obtain statistics regarding the number of connected devices and computers, but it was difficult for me to find up-to-date information (I was only able to find information up to 2011). Just the same, I would like to note the following:
According to , Brazil has 202 million inhabitants and 107 822 831 of them are Internet users (2014). This represents 53% of the population. Based on the fact that at this time the country’s IPv6 penetration rate is 0.17%, we can assume that there are 183,298 users.
I’m sure many will think that this number is low; however, between May and mid-August 2014, the number remained fixed at 0.03%, i.e. only 60 000 users. Then, in a span of just seven months, there was an increase to more than 280 000 subscribers, which represents an increase of over 400%.
Finally, it is clear that it is difficult for the percentage to grow in a country such as Brazil due to its large population. In any other country, 200 000 would make quite an impression on IPv6 meters.
Bolivia seems to be a VERY significant event that is going unnoticed. There have been no discussions on the mailing list and, personally, I have not heard much (if at all) on other media. Ultimately, however, they deserve a round of applause, our respect and congratulations.
At the moment, the country has ~ 0.70% of IPv6 traffic, having started to deploy IPv6 in mid-2014 with greater emphasis in late August.
So far, we are not seeing the country’s global number grow significantly, apparently because this deployment is being carried out by a small provider (a cooperative). Once again, I extend my congratulations.
5) LAC Average:
Measurements by LACNIC included calculating the overall average for the region, for which we obtained approximately 0.5%.
The point I consider worth highlighting is that, in mid-June, the LAC average was 0.12%, which means that IPv6 adoption increased four-fold within a period of six months.
What should we expect in 2015?
We certainly would like to see strong IPv6 deployment in the LAC region over the next year. In early 2014 my forecast was that at the end of the year traffic would be 0.4%. Luckily, my prediction came short (I’m really glad I was wrong!!).
I only say this to make it public, but right now my forecast is that in 2015 we will reach 2.5%. In all honesty, however, it is very hard to make a prediction on this topic – perhaps even more difficult than forecasting the weather and predicting sports results at the same time. We know of many organizations that are implementing IPv6 in every country and every region (universities, governments, ISPs). I obviously hope that my prediction is well below the mark, but even 5 times the current figure is quite promising.
Once again: Any killer applications?
I would like to mention something quite striking that happened repeatedly this year and which I think is a huge motivator:
Many companies in LAC were interested in connecting to companies in Asia. In LAC, they had access to IPv4 resources but not so in Asia. In other words, they needed IPv6 to communicate. This led our region’s ISPs to quickly deploy IPv6 or risk losing customers. Along with this, let’s remember that each country is not alone. The Internet has no borders and each country needs to communicate with the outside world. Those that choose not to implement IPv6 are at risk of becoming isolated. Perhaps you still are still using IPv4, but the other end may not necessarily be doing so.
According to Jaris Aizprúa, engineer at Huawei and an active participant in LACNIC’s IPv6 workshops, “the region is not prepared” to use IPV6 because the vast majority of Latin American and Caribbean operators and organizations are “waiting for their IPv4 resources to run out” in order to “begin thinking about” the latest Internet protocol.
In Aizprúa’s opinion, organizations should understand the need for IPv6 right now, “not when their IPv4 reserves begin to run out.”
Aizprúa told LACNIC News that he believes the first step towards IPv6 should be training on the urgent need for this protocol.
The challenge is using IPv6 once IPv4 is exhausted. Is the region prepared for this? has enough been done to avoid holding back Internet development?
I think the region is not prepared, as we have waited until resources have run out in order to begin thinking about IPv6.
Are the region’s companies aware of the pressing need to use IPv6?
Most organizations aren’t ready and don’t see the need for IPv6 because they still have enough IPv4 resources. In fact, because they are still connected to the Internet, they are not worried about IPv6 at all.
What should be done to further promote the latest Internet protocol in Latin America?
People should become aware of the need for IPv6 right now, not when their IPv4 reserves begin to run out. Training is a very important issue, not so much training on technical aspects but specifically on the need for IPv6.
In your opinion, what might happen in the region if certain countries make more progress than others in relation to IPv6 deployment and utilization?
It will allow them to fully exploit the benefits of IPv6, such as end-to-end connectivity, the Internet of Things, etc.
What can you tell us about IPv6 deployment in Ecuador?
There is currently very little IPv6 deployment. Only one ISP is already offering IPv6 for residential users, a breakthrough considering that these users are the ones demanding the most IPvX resources and Internet traffic. Other providers are still not offering IPv6 to their residential users and companies haven’t enabled IPv6 on their services, specifically government agencies, which should be prioritized due to the high local traffic that exists today.
Without IPv6, “countries will be unable to communicate with each other”
Despite the efforts of LACNIC and the regional community aimed at accelerating IPv6 expansion and use, the progress made in Latin America and the Caribbean towards the adoption of the latest Internet protocol has been uneven. On the one hand, some countries have made great progress and already up to 9% of their traffic is using this technology. On the other hand, certain areas haven’t even deployed IPv6 yet.
Alejandro Acosta, R+D Engineer at LACNIC, says there is a serious risk that the region’s countries will not be able to communicate among themselves if this new Internet Protocol, which offers great advantages over the previous version (IPv4), is not adopted.
We spoke to Acosta during the LACNIC event held in Chile.
In your opinion, are the region’s companies and organizations aware of the pressing need to use IPv6?
That’s a complex question. Many organizations are indeed aware of the situation and have already done some work in this regard. I’m sure, however, that most Latin American and Caribbean organizations have not yet become aware of this. I think that the near future –particularly 2015– will be important in terms of IPv6 dissemination and adoption among private organizations.
What do you think it would take to boost IPv6 adoption?
I think the answer is a combination of many things. Governments must adopt a relatively firm position and internally promote IPv6 adoption within each country. ISPs, Internet users, and universities can also help disseminate the protocol.
What might happen if some Latin American and Caribbean countries make greater progress than others towards IPv6 adoption?
This topic has been discussed quite a bit in Europe, a region with differing levels of development. The answer is simple: those countries that fall behind will unfortunately become isolated. The Internet knows no borders and all countries need to connect with the rest of the world. What will happen? Unfortunately, countries that have adopted IPv6 and want to connect with a country that hasn’t been able to do so will be unable to communicate. This will affect organizations in both countries. This is something that has already happened at many ISPs. Customers of an ISP that wasn’t offering IPv6 have had to move to other ISPs that were.
Which countries are the most advanced in our region?
Right now, Peru’s IPv6 adoption rate is more than 9%. The countries with the least progress are part of Central America.
What benefits will end users derive from IPv6?
Although there are many benefits, I will mention just two of them. The first benefit is the possibility of connecting a large number of devices at home or corporate level directly to the Internet, which will allow developing the Internet of Things. The second is the fact that applications will not fail.
by Alejandro Acosta
An operator’s general schema can be compared to a small-scale IANA-RIR schema.
Generally speaking, a provider who obtains an IPv6 address block from its RIR must have an IPv6 addressing plan (just as for IPv4).
Thanks to the huge number of available IPv6 addresses, it has become common practice to assign certain specific block sizes for specific purposes. For example:
- a) Address blocks for WAN networks
- b) Address blocks for LAN networks
- c) Address blocks for loopback interfaces in various devices
- d) If necessary, address blocks for ULAs (Unique Local IPv6 Unicast Addresses, RFC 4193)
- e) Address blocks for the network’s core
- f) Address blocks for customers
For security reasons, blocks and addresses are not assigned consecutively – keep in mind that IPv6 address space is huge and our goal is to make our implementation as secure and vulnerability-free as possible.
Best practices recommend the following:
- /64s should be assigned for loopbacks
- /64s for LANs
- /64s for WANs (otherwise, assign a /127 and reserve the /64)
- /48s for POPs
It is very important to change our way of thinking, as we are no longer dealing with IPv4 and the need to save address space is no longer a concern.
In practice, we will work with the bits between /32 and /48. It’s actually quite simple. Remember that IPv6 is divided into eight 16-bit fields. What we will now do is play around with some of these fields. In our example, we’ll do the following:
[___ NET ID __ ] [Subnet] [Division] [________ Interface ID ____________]
[C1] [C2] [C3] [C4] [C5] [C6] [C7] [C8]
In this case, we’ll use the third field of zeroes (subnet). Here we have 16 bits, enough for 65,536 subnets which we can create to satisfy various needs. A possible addressing plan could be as follows:
Addressing Plan (high level):
- Grab the whole 2001:db8:00000000::/48
- 2001:db8:0:0::1/64 Loopback #1
- 2001:db8:0:1::43/64 Loopback #2
- 2001:db8:0:2::00A7/64 Loopback #3
b) LAN Segments:
- Grab the whole 2001:db8:00E::/48
- 2001:db8:000E:0::/64 LAN Segment #1
- 2001:db8:000E:23::/64 LAN Segment #2
- 2001:db8:000E:286::/64 LAN Segment #3
- Grab the whole 2001:db8:005A::/48
- 2001:db8:005A:0::/64 WAN Segment #1
- 2001:db8:005A:42::/64 WAN Segment #1
- 2001:db8:005A:0C2::/64 WAN Segment #1
- 2001:db8:00D9::/48 POP #1
- 2001:db8:139::/48 POP #1
- 2001:db8:02FD::/48 POP #1
1) The assignment of IPv6 prefixes according to service type is worth a brief note. Example: Imagine a datacenter that offers its customers shared hosting services as well as dedicated servers (either physical or virtualized servers). In this case, the service provider can assign different /48s to both platforms. Advantages of this scenario include:
- Easier to manage quality of service within the provider’s network
- Flexible, per-service /48 BGP announcements
- More detailed management of VIP customers
- Easier troubleshooting
2) Finally, organizations present in multiple countries, provinces or states can implement simple, fun things that will bring long-term benefits. For example: If the company has presence in Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela, the corresponding country codes are 54, 57 and 58. Now check out the third field in the following IPv6 addressing plan:
- Argentina: 2001:db8:54:0:0:0:0:0/48
- Colombia: 2001:db8:57:0:0:0:0:0/48
- Venezuela: 2001:db8:58:0:0:0:0:0/48
In the case above we used the country codes, but we could also have used state or province codes. Moreover, the third field could be used for the country code and the fourth field for the state.
- Venezuela: 2001:db8:58:212:0:0:0:0/56 (212 = Caracas)
We hope you find this information useful.
For more information, please visit: www.lacnic.net
Latin America and the Caribbean have entered the IPv4 exhaustion phase; the delay in deploying Internet Protocol version 6 in our region is cause for concern.
La Casa de Internet de Latinoamérica y el Caribe, 10 June.- Today, the Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC), the organization responsible for assigning Internet resources in the region, announced the exhaustion of its IPv4 address pool and expressed its concern regarding the fact that operators and governments throughout the region are delaying the deployment of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).
LACNIC reported that its pool of available IPv4 addresses reached the 4.194.302 mark, and that this has triggered stricter Internet resource assignment policies for the continent. In practice, this means that IPv4 addresses are now exhausted for Latin American and Caribbean operators.
“This is an historic event; the fact that it was anticipated and announced doesn’t make it any less significant,” said Raúl Echeberría, LACNIC’s CEO. “From now on, LACNIC and its National Registries will only be able to assign very small numbers of IPv4 addresses, and these will not be enough to satisfy our region’s needs.” Since it began operating in 2002, the organization has assigned more than 182 million IPv4 addresses throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Internet Address Registry for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC) has begun, at the beginning of February, a series of visits and meetings with Latin- American officials and operators. The target of this tour is to report on the impending exhaustion of the regional IPv4 address stock and discuss the actions that should be taken to ensure normal Internet growth in that country.
IP addresses are a finite yet vital resource for the proper operation of the Internet, and this year will bring significant challenges resulting mainly from entering a new phase where IP version 4 (IPv4) address availability will be increasingly reduced. In order to make the transition as smooth as possible and ensure continued Internet growth through a safe and stable transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) throughout the region, this new phase requires active participation of all stakeholders.
During the months of February and March, LACNIC experts visited government agencies and Internet Service Providers in Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, and Argentina to raise awareness on the imminent exhaustion of IPv4 and the need to deploy IPv6.
More than six out of ten Internet organizations in the LACNIC service region have already received at least one IPv6 address block, the new technology that now is replacing the IPv4 protocol.
According to LACNIC’s technical records, Brazil leads the ranking of countries with the most IPv6 assignments, followed by Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.
Today, more than five out of ten Latin Americans have Internet access, and this number is expected to grow over the next 30 months. It is estimated that by 2015 there will be 100 million new Internet users in Latin America and the Caribbean, totaling 355 million users in the region.
Although it is a well-known fact that IPv4 address space is nearing exhaustion, this document reviews the current global and regional status of IPv4 address availability at the end of 2012. The information contained in this report can be found on the various websites cited throughout this document; however, this information has not been compiled in any single location or translated into the languages spoken in our region.
We assume that the reader is familiar with the current Internet address distribution and allocation system, as well as with the relationship between the IANA, regional registries, and ISPs/end users. For more information, please visit IANA’s website at: http://www.iana.org/numbers
Addresses Available in the IANA Pool
In February 2011, the central stock of IPv4 addresses administered by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) was finally exhausted. At that time, each RIR was assigned one of the five remaining blocks according to the global policy in force. More information on this milestone ceremony can be found at: http://lacnic.net/sp/anuncios/2011-agotamiento-ipv4.html
A complete distribution map of the original 256 /8 blocks can be found on IANA’s website at the following URL:http://www.iana.org/assignments/ipv4-address-space/ipv4-address-space.xml
Since then, each RIR has only had access to its own IPv4 stock and, consequently, each RIR has had different projected IPv4 exhaustion dates for their region. The current situation for the five RIR service regions is analyzed below.
Addresses Available in RIR Pools
Each regional registry has a policy that is triggered when IPv4 resources reach a “practical” exhaustion limit. This limit is typically reached when a single /8 block remains, although LACNIC reserves two /12 blocks. After this “virtual exhaustion,” regional registries will no longer assign IPv4 addresses based on demonstrated need but will rather set a maximum block size to be assigned per organization – typically a /22. Once this stage is reached, even though the RIR still has some addresses, the RIR stock is considered to be exhausted as it can no longer satisfy the actual needs of ISPs and other organizations.
APNIC was the first regional registry to run out of IPv4 addresses. On 15 April, 2011, APNIC started to use its last remaining /8. This event triggered a policy that restricts assignments to a single /22 per organization, either new or pre-existing. More information on APNIC’s website: http://www.apnic.net/publications/news/2011/final-8
It is interesting to analyze the following graph by Geoff Huston which clearly shows how scarcity began in April 2011. While in 2010 the average demand and number of assignments were in the order of 2 million addresses per week, the graph shows that the number of address assignments has been negligible after the “last /8″ policy was triggered. It also clearly shows increased demand during the first weeks of 2011 in anticipation of the moment when that policy would be triggered.
On 14 September, 2012, Europe’s regional registry also started to use its last remaining /8. The policy in force states that, from that moment on, the maximum assignment size is a /22. The original announcements from RIPE can be found at the following links:
ARIN, LACNIC and AfriNIC
These three registries have not yet reached their last /8 block and there are different estimates as to when each RIR will begin to use their reserve block. One of the better known projected RIR address pool exhaustion date estimates is the one prepared by Geoff Huston and available at the following link: IPv4 Address Report: http://www.potaroo.net/tools/ipv4/index.html
RIR Address Pool Exhaustion Dates:
Addresses in RIR Pool (/8s)
This information can be seen in graphic form at the following link: http://www.potaroo.net/tools/ipv4/plotend.png
In turn, LACNIC has its own IPv4 exhaustion date projections: http://www.lacnic.net/web/lacnic/reporte-direcciones-ipv4
As we can see, an important part of the global Internet is based in regions where the regional registries have already exhausted their IPv4 resources and where new IPv4 requests now face strict restrictions. Moreover, based on the projections cited above, we can safely assume that during the second half of the upcoming year most of the Internet will have insufficient IPv4 resources. For all of the above, we should begin thinking that the IPv4 protocol is exhausted and start thinking of an IPv6-based Internet. In our region, particularly, we should consider that we only have a year and a half to adopt the new version of the IP protocol and thus avoid the problems associated with IPv4 exhaustion.