IPv6 CoE Blog

What Does Lao-Tzu's "Journey of a thousand miles..." have to do with IPv6?

Most of you have heard the famous saying by 6th Century Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  This statement also applies to the steps in the path of IPv4 to IPv6 transition.  Conventional wisdom also says that we can measure future success by the yardstick of the past. Fortunately we have IPv6Matrix, a historical reference site providing that yardstick in a visual format.


Matrix is a non-profit organization that utilizes a web crawler tool developed in Python by Nile University. The Crawler continuously gathers information on IPv6 deployment and accessibility around the world. Data is regularly s available to view on the website in various visual formats as soon as it has been processed. Beginning with the top million rated domains from Alexa.com as the source of the DNS records (the “telephone book” for the Internet) to be queried, a substantial report card can be developed. The “A” host records identify an IPv4 address and the “AAAA” show IPv6 addresses for a host system, which can loosely be defined as a device attached to the Internet. This is usually a PC, server, mobile device but it could also be a router, switch or other network device. Hosts can have more than one IPv4 or IPv6 DNS record or they can have a multiple of both. The Crawler accesses publically available DNS server records similarly to how Enterprises and Government agencies use web browsers to gain access.   Organizations usually have an intranet which is connected to the public Internet through routers and firewalls. Intranet users will access internal zone files while users from the outside will access the external zone files.


 Measurements taken from multiple perspectives provide a picture of how the IPv6 Internet is working.   IPv6-only and dual stack hosts are compiled into several reports. Ping responses on dual stack hosts are of particular interest as they provide performance comparisons between the old v4 and new v6 network protocols. Reachability is verified on each host by testing for a successful response on any three protocols: HTTP, HTTPS, SMTPS, depending on the DNS record types (WWW or MX). HTTP - Websites (WWW hosts) HTTPS - Secure websites (WWW hosts) SMPTS - Secure email (MX hosts) and the report data show comparisons between services successfully reachable over these protocols via IPv4 and IPv6. Several example graphs demonstrate responses over time and for selected countries.


This example shows the percentage of Hosts with lower pings on IPv6.

The following example also covers over a 3 year period to demonstrate the reachability progress.


A Specific IPv6 Host report was developed to show an overview of IPv6 host adoption over time around the world.  Following is an example of Host types for several selected countries or provider type.

The Path report displays an overview of the average IPv4 and IPv6 traceroutes with lengths for dual stack hosts. For this report application, the hop count to each host is measured from IPv6Matrix. A high hop count possibly is an indication of complex routing or tunneling that affects response times. The following data show a comparison between the average IPv4 and IPv6 hop counts to dual stack hosts over time.




The criteria to be considered for inclusion on the IPv6 Domain report is to have one or more IPv6 (AAAA) entries in any of its DNS records, which include web, name, mail and time servers.  These domains are geo-located to a country based on their IPv4 entry for the domain’s main web server. This graph example shows percentages over time by country.

The goal of mixed protocol networks is to be dual stack ('dual stack' refers to a side-by-side implementation of native IPv4 and IPv6) as this is the most desirable type of IPv6 transition implementation as it avoids complex tunneling solutions. The report data shows a comparison between existing IPv4 implementations and the increase of dual stack and IPv6 only implementations over time.


Hopefully this site (www.ipv6matrix.org) will provide insight and incentives to increase the rate of IPv6 adoption in the coming year.



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