Thursday, April 25, 2013

Some thoughts from the 2013 North American IPv6 Summit

After spending the last few days in Denver, CO participating in the largest IPv6 event in North America (and freezing due to a cold front moving through and dumping snow - in April no less!) I have come up with some take aways.

First, there are several dilemmas in the industry affecting adoption of IPv6. Specifically, the lack of content providers having their content available via IPv6. The disparate performance differences on the public Internet for IPv6 vs. IPv4 and the fact that it is not being accurately measured or even being paid attention to by the majority of service providers. And finally the challenge that enterprises are having in deciding between DHCPv6 stateful vs. DHCPv6 stateless vs. wanting to use SLAAC w/ RFC 6106 (no thanks to Android for making that problem worse.)

Second, the lack of interest, press coverage and buzz around IPv6 is upsetting, even the home page of Network World did not have a single mention of the word IPv6 after the last day of the Summit (actually any day of the summit.) I was surprised this year by how many colleagues and friends felt it more important to attend OpenStack in Portland and ONS in San Jose rather than attend the IPv6 Summit. What is even more alarming is the fact that both those events are around technologies that MUST have robust IPv6 support or they will fail long term, in other words they will have no market if they don't have an IPv6 solution. Perhaps it was just unfortunate timing that all three events were the same week but there were some noticeable gaps in attendance and in some key luminaries who chose to attend some of the other events. Granted, the weather, American Airlines having issues which grounded its fleet and the horrible news from Boston and it's subsequent lock down likely had an impact on attendance. Even with that I still feel the messaging on how important IPv6 will be to those in the IT community can't be over emphasized and I find it alarming more people are not participating and learning about IPv6. This event is a rare opportunity to learn arguably one of the most important basic skills you will need in your career as an IT Professional regardless of role. As a side note, both OpenStack and ONS sold out but the NA IPv6 Summit still had room for more attendees. I am not sure why that is and would love to hear what others think about that.

Third, the slow realization that IPv6 is not accelerating but is actually slowing down in adoption. The application rate for Provider Independent (PI) space is slowing, the role outs of IPv6 to service provider customers is not happening at an impactful rate and because of the lack of content its use will languish until more Enterprises feel it is important to have as a transport option. There is serious case to wonder if IPv6 will make it or if everyone will decide to make horrible IPv4 NAT on NAT on NAT (NAT444) solutions and just deal with brokenness and performance problems indefinitely. Perhaps they are hoping that eventually it will be somebody else's problem to deal with.

So, in summary, while I am a huge IPv6 advocate I am getting tired of being ridiculed by manufactures, peers, industry pundits and customers whenever I bring up the topic of IPv6 and adoption and everyone's response is "isn't that dead" or "no one actually uses IPv6" or "I hope to retire before I have to learn that" as quips back to my inquiry. Honestly, I am to the point now where my response is going to be "be part of the solution or get the heck out of the way" with perhaps some expletives in the mix depending on the audience. As an anecdotal side note, I have had several long time IPv6 colleagues and industry leaders tell me they are not focusing as much on IPv6 due to the incredible frustration of it being ignored and the frightening thought that IPv6 might not actually make it as a legitimate technology solution due to the lack of interest and adoption. Apparently growth for the Internet just really isn't that important.

- Ed

Co-chair, CA IPv6 Task Force


Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.I thought your perspective was very interesting.

My growing disillusionment with IPv6 adoption was a major factor in my decision not to attend the summit this year. Also, there is little variety on the IPv6 conference circuit.

It's getting harder to be an IPv6 advocate. Folks like us can point out the absurdity of products or services launching in 2013 without IPv6 support and no one cares.

I've concluded that only eyeball and M2M networks need IPv6. Content providers and others have absolutely no driver to deploy IPv6. We can make arguments that the user experience will suffer with NAT but these will be ignored.


Ed Horley said...

My concerns I believe are shared by others that IPv6 might not happen or happen at such a slow adoption rate to effectively make it useless.

I appreciate the comment about the lack of variety in IPv6 conference topics. I intentionally did NOT submit to present at this years Summit in hopes of freeing up more slots for some new folks (fresh blood.) I was glad to see Jim Small w/ CDW present plus a few other new presenters but clearly we do not have the diversity required to keep people coming back year over year.

Any feedback about what the North American IPv6 Summit should do for the next few years would be welcome too. I help advise and run the event and I am happy to bring back a diversity of views and ideas to share and see what happens.
- Ed

Anonymous said...

I think diversity in people and topics might drive attendance for the 2014 summit.

1) Do not invite anyone to speak who you named in your The IPv6 Bandwagon post. We've heard them again and again.

2) Get someone who has been a strong promoter of IPv6 to talk about the hype, the missteps, the echo chamber, and the disillusionment.

3) Get someone from one of the big IaaS providers to explain the technical challenges of offering IPv6 in their network. Know anyone on the Azure team?

4) Get someone from an MNC to explain why IPv6 won't be on their network for ten years. These people are out there but probably have zero motivation to talk at one of these conferences.

That would be a good start.


Michael Mol said...

I gave four hour-long sessions on IPv6 at Penguicon Saturday. They were well-attended.

From my interaction with my audience, it would appear that ISPs in the Great Lakes area are working on getting IPv6 deployed, and are working out the final kinks with vendor support. Those I've talked to have told me that IPv6 is available to their customers if their customers ask--they'll tunnel it if their core isn't ready yet, and everyone I talked to has said their core will be ready within 6-8 months.

I've been invited to present in front of LUGs and technology groups a few times, to explain what IPv6 is and answer the questions people have. Reactions have generally been positive.

Things are looking up over here...

DJC said...

I think widespread adoption of IPv6 can be helped by events like the North American IPv6 Summit and Microsoft's TechEd. I think there is just not enough education about IPv6 or motivation to change. I know (Digital Government Institute) DGI has had some events in the past but not recently. They should be invited to speak on their challenges and success from implementing IPv6 in their locations.

jonesnco said...

I personally wish the Open* folks either a) coordinated better with the IPv6 summit in terms of schedules or b) had their conference in collocated with the IPv6 summit, I see a lot of potential benefit for all involved. I don't know that there is a specific protocol for listing conferences for such coordination ( Internet Governance Meeting list, or ?).

You are making a point that I think, in part, can be fixed with a few changes to how the IPv6 summits are advertised to the tech community at large. One thing I really want to see (and have been working on) has been getting more involvement from some of the blogging community. I think I saw perhaps two of the several dozen blogs I keep track of via the soon-to-be-departed Google Reader that even mentioned the IPv6 summit...and only a few more than that seemed to mention the Open* summit.

But I think the initial focus of such promotion in my opinion should be those bloggers typically attending Tech Field Day event. I know one of the TFD regulars from my neck of the woods was going to attend the IPv6 Summit in Denver but couldn't (employer issues)...but I'd like to see the more external communities attending and, ideally, presenting at IPv6 summits. Perhaps, if it could be coordinated, have a TFD in conjunction with the IPv6 summit.

I'd also be interested in seeing some of the headliners from other conferences at the IPv6 summits. I have pestered a few of them but typically get little response but as an example imagine something like Laura Chappell offering something like 'Troubleshooting IPv6 with Wireshark'. Very feasible IMO and it would be cool.

It probably wouldn't hurt to try and get the edu community involved as well (Educause maybe?).

trejrco said...

Don't get dis-heartened my friend; it has been a long painful road and we are (IMHO) just getting to the good times.

VZW, Tmo and Comcast have all deployed / are all deploying - to the point where the only non-IPv6 capable network I connect to daily using any of my devices (excluding XBOX) is at work. And I am there to help solve that.

I think the conference attendance / lack of PR is as much a sign of "people moving on to solving bigger problems (that is, they consider the IPv6 problem solved - just waiting on deployment now)" as it is "people still in denial / pushback".

I see continued interest and ongoing deployment. They haven't hit ludicrous speed yet, but they are accelerating.


Sam Bowne said...

I've seen the same thing; interest in IPv6 has been low for the last year. But I expect it to grow substantially in 2014 when ARIN runs out of IPv4 addresses.

The current situation favors breakers more than builders, but I expect that to change in 2014.

kancelarijske stolice said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing!