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IPv6 Market Has Liftoff - Now the Hard Part Begins

Starting last week there have been a number of sensational headlines about IPv6 user adoption using adjectives and phrases like, “explodes”, “skyrocketing” and “conquering the world”. Nice to hear for sure but what does that mean to vendors of IPv6 gear or anyone else studying the market?

Data from George Michaelson, senior R&D scientist at APNIC , released at last week’s IETF meeting, pegs end user adoption in America at 1.35% or around 3 million people. This is substantiated by triangulating very recent data from Akamai’s data analysis (1.04%) and Cisco’s thorough bottom-up model (1.4%). Applying the standard Chasm technology adoption cycle indicates the end user market is in the Innovator phase.

IPv6 Life cycle and Adoption (Click to Enlarge)

However since there is no end user demand for IPv6, they are not innovators driving the market. To understand the IPv6 market end user adoption is far less meaningful than the adoption of the implementers of IPv6—that is the IPv6 adoption rate of network operators & content and service providers. By isolating U.S. IPv6 adoption data from gogoNET‘s 70,000 members we find an adoption rate of 5.16% (from a sample size of 581 professional U.S. members who registered in the last 90 days) squarely classifying the current market as Early Adopters. The difference of 4% between the two groups makes sense given the indirect and delayed effect of implementer adoption on end user adoption.

Of course this too is not a typical market since IPv6 implementers are not being driven solely by top line economics. Instead they are being driven by a looming technical problem (address depletion) that will affect business continuity. That being said there’s enough similarities to ask the question, “Does the ‘skyrocketing’ trajectory of IPv6 have enough momentum to cross the Chasm or will the market stall before the Early Majority, who have a very different makeup, take over?”

By Bruce Sinclair, CEO, gogo6

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