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Measuring IPv6 at the Network and the Customer Level

George Michaelson, APNIC’s Senior Research and Development Scientist recently visited the RIPE NCC to collaborate on various research projects with his RIR colleagues. IPv6 measurements were one of the topics we looked at.

Recent IPv6 statistics from the RIPE NCC show an accelerated uptake of IPv6 in Norway, both in terms of the number of allocated prefixes, and visible announcements in the routing system. This is based on a comparison over time of the amount of IPv6 addresses allocated to each economy, and the amount of visible prefixes per Autonomous System (AS) in the routing tables each day. The graph below shows 50% of ASes in Norway now announce one or more IPv6 prefix.

Some have interpreted this to mean that over 50% of the end users in Norway have now access to IPv6. However, a measurement of end user IPv6 capability by APNIC doesn’t necessarily support that, rather, it suggests that end user access to IPv6 remains low in Norway, as in other economies. The graph below shows the percentage of IPv6 preference at the end user level.

Keep in mind that this only includes data until mid-May, hence the drop at the end. For the most up-to-date graph, please visit the APNIC Labs IPv6 Measurements pages.

Are these measurements in conflict?

No, not really. One is a measure of capacity and capability in routing and forwarding, and the other is a measure of end user access. There are many reasons why some routing-active entities don’t show up in an end user measurement: the AS may be servicing content delivery and not offering access services, or may be providing transit and data management services for others and have no direct end user traffic.

Perhaps the AS is servicing segments of the user base who only gain access to the global Internet occasionally, or to restricted URLs, or not even the web but only VOIP (which we can’t measure in the APNIC technique.)

The difference is not a conflict. It exposes differences in what we see on the Internet and the different conclusions drawn from each.

APNIC’s measurement focuses on end user access, and in large part, suggests that there is a continuing problem with end user access to IPv6, even when the AS in question may have associated IPv6 allocations visible in global routing.

In the background article on RIPE Labs you can find much more information, including the methodology and an analysis of the specific situation in Norway and in Japan.

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