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A Quarter of World ISPs Offering IPv6 Addresses to Consumers

Posted: 15th Sep, 2010 By: MarkJ
ipv6The Number Resource Organization (NRO) has released the results from a new European Commission (EC) funded study into global Internet Protocol v6 ( IPv6 ) readiness and found that just 25% of ISPs now offer the service to consumers. In addition, 10% of polled ISPs have no plans to offer IPv6 to consumers or businesses.

At present IPv4 addresses are assigned to your computer each time you go online (e.g. 85.23.56.198). It is a unique online identifier made up of four number groupings and allows you to communicate with other computers around the world; not unlike a phone number for voice calls.

Sadly IPv4 addresses, used since 1984, provide roughly 4.3 billion addresses, of which only around 200 million (less than 6%) remain available; it would be easy to consume that many before the end of 2011. As a result IPv6 was designed, which is not only longer but also more secure by design. They are 128bits long, written in hexadecimal and separated by colons.
Example IPv6 Address
2ffe:1800:3525:3:200:f8ff:fe21:67cf
Luckily it's not all bad news. A whopping 84% of the 1500 organizations, from 140 countries, surveyed said they already had IPv6 addresses or were considering a request for them. However half of respondents sighted cost fears as a major barrier to adoption, although leaving it too late could ironically result in greater costs due to poor preparation.

NRO Chairman, Axel Pawlik, said:

"It’s great to see that as we move toward complete IPv4 exhaustion, more organizations worldwide are waking up to the need to adopt IPv6 and are sourcing IPv6 addresses from the RIRs.

Yet there is still a distinct lack of Internet traffic over the next addressing protocol, with not enough ISPs offering IPv6 services and 30% of ISPs saying the proportion of this traffic is less than 0.5%. It’s critical that ISPs now take the next step in the global adoption effort by offering IPv6 services to their customers to help boost traffic over IPv6."

However 60% saw the lack of vendor (i.e. broadband router manufacturer) support as a serious barrier to deployment. Indeed many UK consumers are probably still using routers with inadequate or no IPv6 support whatsoever.

The inability to handle native IPv6 addresses could result in IPv4 address sharing, slower performance and potentially even security problems. ISPs do have temporary solutions to stop this becoming a serious issue but all will eventually have to do IPv6 properly.

It's noted that 58% of the organisations surveyed were ISPs and the good news is that 60% already offer, or plan to offer within the next year, IPv6 to consumers; with 70% doing the same for businesses.
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