IPv6 is not coming, it is already here

IPv6 is not coming, it is already here – a real life story and some statistics

Understanding IPv6

If you are running your own IT-company you might be able to relate to this story; you write an update to a customers’ system, test it thoroughly and deploys it to the live-server. Finally, you verify that everything works as it should and then relax a little after a job well done. Well, this time we did a little more than that, we transferred the system to a new hosting server to make sure that there would be enough resources. Everything was working as expected. After a while the customer calls us and complains that he can’t use the system. We follow our normal procedures and asks if he has re-loaded the page, did he type in the address correctly, maybe he needs to empty the browser cache and such. Nothing seems to help, he says he just sees some weird server page. We ask him to try on another device, to see if there is a problem with outdated DNS-records. Yes! He can access the system from his smart-phone! Even though this is progress, it is not enough. The customer should also be able to use it on his laptop, which at the moment seems to be a hard task to accomplish. After some time we start to suspect a configuration error on the webserver. Looking at the server logs we see a lot of connections from an IPv6 address. Realizing that the customer is using a connection that uses IPv6 only, we change the web server configuration to accept this connection as well. This did it, now the customer can use the updated system and everyone is happy! This was the first time we have had a problem of this nature and it took several hours to realize what was wrong, even though we are aiming for enabling all of our services over IPv6. As a provider of several high-end services it is important for us to know how our services are being used and that we continually test the availability of our services. To get a feel for how much IPv6 is used to connect to our services we have extracted some statistics from one of our services, https://www.pageup.fi/.

Usage statistics for IPv6 on PageUP!

The first usage of IPv6 was recorded on April the 4th, 2016, when someone was connecting to a customer’s website. According to geoiplookup.net this person was using DNA Oyj as their internet provider and located in Vantaa, Southern Finland. To get a more comprehensive view of the IPv6 usage we created monthly statistics ranging from April 2016 to June 2018 and created a graph using this data. You can see the graph below.

 

Due to the ever-increasing number of bots and crawlers, the statistics are a bit distorted, but the statistics still provide us with some insights; in the year 2016 there was not much going on with IPv6, the usage only a few percents. In 2017 things started to heat up, the IPv6 seems to be much more used now and in 2018 you definitely have to take IPv6 into consideration, as it now constitutes between 10 and 30 percent of the traffic. The general direction is clear, the usage of IPv6 is increasing.


If you want to know more about IPv6 or if you want to have a website that can be used over IPv6, feel free to contact us for more information.


Håkan Lövdahl

LLS Data Ab Oy