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The Journey of IPv6 Implementation 9 Months Later

ICANN 43 in Costa Rica was in the heart of IPv6 implementation with everybody touching on how much it was needed as part of the internet ecosystem to fully utilize the ICANN expansion of the new gTLD namespace from 21 to the maximum number that will manage to get delegated at the beginning of 2013.

Since the announcement of IPv6 full launch in July 2011 there has been many activities to either fully adopt the technology or find means and ways to bridge the services to provide a translation mechanism between IPv4 and IPv6, however as per Hurricane Electric, an IPv6 authority who has over 11 years experience, it’s not impossible but a practical technology to implement

A presentation of Hurricane electric on the IPv6 developments over their 11 year history has put much information over how and why IPv6 needs to be implemented and accepted. A delve into the IPV6 session is very key in putting into focus how and when the full exploitation of the new inexhaustible technology can run. A quick view at the fact given by the Hurricane Electric presenter at the World IPv6 launch session gave the following helpful statistics:

The increase of the Autonomous system number owners has steadily rose to 12.1% within a three year period beginning 2010. The DNS glue records too are now at 266 out of a possible 313. The ccTLD country code count is now at 149 from a small count of 91 in 2010. Generally the number of certifications awarded for the IPv6 deployments too has seen a steady rise meaning many people are seeking to deploy within their systems therefore a certification was needful for the proper management.

The challenges that have been far received include the ccTLD registrars implementing the glue records which so far not many support. However it need not be an impatient process. The experience of the firms has been that by developing the existing systems e.g. upgrading the load balancers and additional training materials, organizations such as CIRA have implemented ways that has helped in adoption.

In a period of 550 days beginning 2010, the rise of 88% IPv6 prefixes annually and 80% rise of ASN’s—this indicates the desire to fully switch to the new system. Within the TLD system a check presents an 85% adoption by TLD operators with an 82.4% hit for the glue records installations to root. Glue records are a key component in the deployment of the IPv6 technology and the operators have to ensure within thick and thin to have this implemented within their systems.

With a promise by the largest owners of the social network services like Google and Facebook to act and make their services fully IPv6 compliant, it’s imperative that everybody who wants to fully utilize the services of an IPv6 technology has to adopt it to seamlessly operate their business system without need for inter-system translation technologies which sometimes have compatibility issues.

More trainings have to be in fact organized by governments who own a stake in the ccTLD business, as well as well established private sector firms. This means that a cross cutting relationship has to be established that will also involve the financial, educational, technology as well as the governmental bodies to bring a more structured system.

Having more experienced users of any new technology that includes IPv6 is not an option but a necessity now that the imminent demise of IPv4 is closer than ever imagined.

By Gideon Rop, Project Manager: DCA Registry Services Kenya and ISOC Kenya Member

He is an Internet Governance enthusiast and technology critic, an active member of ISOC Kenya who participates regularly in Internet Governance, DNS and Security Fora, and in ICANN GNSO working groups.

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