Measuring IPv6 adoption

Jakub Czyz, Mark Allman, Jing Zhang, Scott Iekel-Johnson, Eric Osterweil, Michael Bailey
Appears in: 
CCR August 2014

After several IPv4 address exhaustion milestones in the last three years, it is becoming apparent that the world is running out of IPv4 addresses, and the adoption of the next generation Internet protocol, IPv6, though nascent, is accelerating. In order to better understand this unique and disruptive transition, we explore twelve metrics using ten global-scale datasets to create the longest and broadest measurement of IPv6 adoption to date. Using this perspective, we find that adoption, relative to IPv4, varies by two orders of magnitude depending on the measure examined and that care must be taken when evaluating adoption metrics in isolation. Further, we find that regional adoption is not uniform. Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, we find that over the last three years, the nature of IPv6 utilization—in terms of traffic, content, reliance on transition technology, and performance—has shifted dramatically from prior findings, indicating a maturing of the protocol into production mode. We believe IPv6’s recent growth and this changing utilization signal a true quantum leap.