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China’s Authorities Push to Accelerate IPv6 Adoption: Should Other Countries Take Note?

China eyes global leadership with its new plan to expedite IPv6 adoption. Some thoughts on the likelihood of achieving their goal, plausible impact on the country and its citizens.

In a bid to stay ahead in the fierce global tech race, China has set a goal of running a single-stack IPv6 network by 2030. To achieve this goal of having a single IPv6 networking stack for the nation, authorities have issued time-specific milestones to relevant agencies and operators within the Chinese jurisdiction.

Most notably, by the end of 2023, no new networks will be allowed to use the IPv4—signaling immediate dramatic changes across the board. The announcement has raised eyebrows within and outside of China, with global IP stakeholders and Internet infrastructure operators expressing mixed reactions about the move.

Outside of China, Industry observers express uncertainty about the feasibility of the transition without causing major disruptions.

Such endeavors would not be plausible in states with liberal internet access. However, when you have a controlled and restricted internet infrastructure as China does, it’s possible to introduce such drastic changes to the country’s network in an expedited manner, and they might run into costly solutions to support the transition. A successful and rapid shift to IPv6 within such a short period will not come cheap, especially to ensure NAT support from IPv6 to IPv4.

The transition should not have too much of an impact on the residents of China, since the renowned great firewall of China already limits access to a lot of external websites like Google, YouTube, and Twitter,” she continued. “As for the country, it could further deepen its dominance in the global tech industry, supporting the massive rollout of the 5G network and the growing use of IoT devices.

This transition could be a potential stimulus for other countries to spruce up their IPv6 efforts. Experts have been tackling the IPv6 rollout question for more than a decade now, seemingly with no steps taken forward. At the moment, no other nation is advocating for a single-stack IPv6 network, and this could be the spark that encourages other governments to take more concrete actions, as, even though predicted to be implemented by 2026, currently, the world has only around 35 percent IPv6 adoption.

By Viktorija Ratomskė, Chief Marketing Officer at IPXO

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Todd Knarr  –  Nov 29, 2021 10:14 PM

I think one question would be would China even desire to have things like NAT from IPv6 to IPv4 working? Having it not work would seem to be to their advantage in terms of controlling access to services outside China. Having IPsec baked in would give them an excuse to block SSL/TLS and all forms of VPN as unnecessary, too.

Kenyon Ralph  –  Nov 30, 2021 12:00 PM

IPsec is not "baked in". That's a common misconception about IPv6.

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