IPv6 will eventually replace IPv4 addressing on the Internet, but adoption is agonizingly slow, according to a report by Arbor Networks. The growth in IPv6 content has been slow for a number of reasons, among them the relative lack of content and the technological hurdles that remain to its implementation.
IPv6 vs. IPv4
IPv6 offers orders of magnitudes more addressing than does IPv4. IPv4 addresses have been exhausted, though exchange programs remain in effect to make sure that new sites can be brought online. Web hosts that have a backlog of the IPv4 addresses are exchanging them with one another, keeping the whole system working. The IPv6 standard was designed to be given a bit debut in June of 2011 with World IPv6 Day. As the name implies, this is not a holiday that most people will really participate in. In fact, if everything goes as planned, it will be a holiday that most people won’t even notice.
The vast majority of the changes made to accommodate IPv6 will only affect those individuals that work at the engineering level of Internet technology. Regular users, provided all goes well, won’t even notice whether or not they’re using any IPv6 addressed resources. Most of the large Internet providers have already added the required infrastructure, increasing hopes that the whole event will go off without any problems at all. Despite all the hoopla, however, there has been very slow growth in this addressing scheme.
According to the Arbor report, the traffic over IPv6 has decreased by 12% over the last six months. The report blames some of this on a lack of incentives, as well as the aforementioned technical issues. On the other hand, IPv4 traffic went up by between 40 and 60%, according to the same report. This, of course, indicates that the Internet isn’t changing quite as fast as it may need to in the near future.
The number of addresses on the Internet is growing by leaps and bounds. As more nations become wired in and as more mobile and other devices are used to surf the net, demand increases. At the same time, the number of sites online has been growing, as well. In fact, the growth has been significant enough that ICANN recently added several different top level domains to better organize the content on the Internet. With so much growth, low adoption of IPv6 may prove to be a problem in the future when resources become thinner and demand becomes greater.