Pandemic Triggers IPv6 Use in the Region


Pandemic Triggers IPv6 Use in the Region

The image below illustrates the major challenge: the Internet must accelerate its move to IPv6 without any pit stops; otherwise, there is the risk of having to suddenly hit the brakes and ending up on the shoulder.

IPv4 addresses are no longer an option for the Internet to continue to grow and the only way to move forward is using IPv6 technology.

LACNIC CEO Oscar Robles used this analogy during his opening remarks for the webinar organized by LACNIC to celebrate the eighth anniversary of Global IPv6 Launch and IPv6 Day.

The image is not perfect, Robles explained, but it is a good representation of the challenge the Internet is facing – changing the wheel (from IPv4 to IPv6) while the car is still running.

“The significance of this deployment is that its goal is the coexistence of IPv4 and IPv6 to ensure interactivity,” LACNIC’s CEO added.

Increasing little by little. Fred Baker, a long-time participant in the IETF, the organization dedicated to the development of Internet standards, noted during the webinar that 704 of the 1,728 Internet drafts under analysis include IPv6 related topics.

As for IPv6 traffic worldwide, based on Google statistics, Baker said that 69 countries have 5% or more and 12 countries have 40% or more of IPv6 traffic. According to Baker, ten countries in Latin America have more than 5% of their traffic over IPv6.

Alejandro Acosta stressed that LACNIC promotes the secure deployment of IPv6. He classified potential threats and pointed out that their behavior is generally similar to those that affect IPv4, although with certain peculiarities.

During the webinar, Tomas Lynch defended the robustness of IPv6 and said that he did not understand why people fear its deployment. “IPv6 was developed 30 years ago; for at least 15 years everyone has been able to support IPv6, including network devices, laptop computers, even Windows, etc. So what are people afraid of? This question remains on my mind because, despite everything, when clients who also have IPv6 and ask for a service, they ask for IPv4 to IPv6,” said Lynch.

During the pandemic. During his part of the presentation, LACNIC CTO Carlos Martínez showed updated IPv6 traffic figures for the region, with special emphasis on what has happened during the coronavirus pandemic.

He presented a graph showing the number of assignments made by LACNIC and how many of those are visible on the IPv6 routing table. “Almost 49% of the assignments are visible and this number is on the rise. Just two years ago it was 30%, now it is almost 49%,” said Martínez.

Do these numbers show any visible effects of the pandemic?

Records show that there was a change in behavior during the coronavirus pandemic. “People started to work on IPv6,” Martínez stressed.

IPv6 in LATAM  

Acosta also referred to IPv6 during the current health emergency. He commented that an analysis of IPv6 behavior in the LAC region during the months of COVID 19 shows that IPv6 grew by almost 4%. “This figure is equivalent to IPv6 growth during the whole of 2019,” he added.

And the same can be said about traffic at ASNs. “During the first 32 days, traffic was 8.45%; at the end of June, it had grown to 15.68%, representing an increase of 84.37%.”

Average growth of IPv6 at ASNs

Acosta concluded by saying that IPv6 has experienced a significant growth during the pandemic. He estimated that, if this growth continues over the second half of 2020, “it sounds very promising.”

Record number of assignments. In closing, Lorenzo Abelenda, resource analyst at LACNIC, stated that the status of IPv4 exhaustion is one of the main drivers of IPv6. During the first quarter of 2020, LACNIC completed the largest number of IPv6 assignments in the organization’s history. Brazil tops this year’s list of assignments, followed by Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, and Ecuador.

IPv6 Assignment Statistics for the Region

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

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