Rural Telco Reality – Part 2 – IPv6 Migration

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In part 1 of this series we discussed the impact of Netflix and other high bandwidth services on a service providers network.  In this article we will explore the popular discussions regarding IPv6 from IP Possibilities in Kansas City.  Like I mentioned in the previous article, IPv6 was one of the biggest topics at the show.

Current State of Affairs

In February, ICANN announced that it had handed out the last 5 /8 IPv4 blocks to the five RIRs. This effectively means that there are no more IPv4 blocks for the RIRs to request.  Once each region is out of IPv4 addresses, they are out of IPv4 addresses.

From the IPv4 Report:

Current RIR Address Status

RIR Assigned Addresses (/8s) Remaining Addresses (/8s)
AFRINIC 8.2526 4.7435
APNIC 53.7912 1.2087
ARIN 77.8148 6.1109
LACNIC 15.6376 4.3624
RIPE NCC 44.9731 4.0269

You can see that the Asia Pacific RIR (APNIC) is in the most dire situation. These numbers above were pulled on May 12, 2011.  The column on the right is describing the amount of public IPv4 addresses left for assignment in the world. About 20.5 out of 256.  With the explosion in mobile devices and connected homes and businesses the number requests have skyrocketed.

Figure 1 - Daily IPv4 assignment rate per RIR -

The graph above shows pretty clearly the increased demand for IP addresses from 2004 to 2011 as more and more devices were coming online.  In 2010 to 2011 there is a dramatic spike in requests for addresses globally. All of this leads to estimated exhaustion at some point in 2012.

As a service provider it is essential to get your network designed and upgraded to support IPv6 services to your end-users.

Steps to take

Get an IPv6 block

Contact your RIR and request an IPv6 block.  In North American, ARIN is the RIR. ARIN has been typically handing out /32 blocks to those that request IPv6 addresses.

Setup IPv6 peering to the Internet

Contact your upstream providers and request IPv6 MP-BGP peering. If no providers offer IPv6 peering in your area, contact Hurricane Electric for tunneling options.

Make sure your network infrastructure supports IPv6

Either do an analysis yourself or have a third-party come in and do analysis of your current network equipment.  Its important that routers, switches, firewalls, and other network devices support IPv6 and are running the appropriate software loads for IPv6. In most cases if a link can run IPv4, it can run IPv6, physical infrastructure isn’t as important as the devices connected to each end.

Deploy in test environment

Once a block is assigned, peering established, and infrastructure ready its time to get a lab system configured.  Its important that this lab match your deployment.  If you are going to be offering IPv6 over DSL, make sure the Ethernet switches and DSLAMs you will be using match what you have in the field or plan to deploy in the field.  You want to test the actual software loads and hardware you will be using to deploy to  your customers.

Friendly deployment

After throughly testing IPv6 in a lab environment pick a small area in your production network that you can configure IPv6 and test with your customers.

Roll out

Roll out system by system, making sure to properly verify and test service at each point in the network.



One comment

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