Cloud Engineer internet ipv6

The Road to IPv6 (or How to Avoid the IPv4 Apocalypse)

Apocalypse IPv4

A paper by Trefor Davies and Chris Nicholls

The Problem
Regular readers of this blog will know that we, the world, are about to run out of the IPv4 addresses that are absolutely crucial to the running of the internet. This notionally apocalyptic event is almost certain to happen over the next three months, maybe even two.

The allocation of IP addresses is managed by an organisation called IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). IANA hands out these numbers in /8 blocks containing 16,777,216 addresses. Clearly you would have to be a big network provider to need 16 million IP addresses. Because of this IANA hands these large blocks to five regional registries that then manage the distribution of smaller blocks to their customers. In Europe the regional registry is called RIPE NCC.

Whilst I have myself been guilty of (playfully) scaremongering in respect of the exhaustion of the pool of Ipv4 addresses, it is only really IANA that is about to run out. RIPE will not run out for perhaps another year and even after that individual ISPs will have their own existing unused addresses to play with.

Notwithstanding this it behoves all ISPs and network operators to get their house in order with Ipv6 which is the long since identified answer to the problem. Ipv6, a 128 bit protocol supports 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses compared the 32 bit IPv4 which only provides 4,294,967,296 (232) . IPv6 is expected to serve us for a very long time.

Few ISPs in the UK have announced IPv6 support. As we approach the IANA Apocalypse I thought I would share with you the engineering work that we have been doing at Timico in respect of IPv6

Timico has been running IPv6 as part of our internal research and development activity for a number of years. The core of the network has been running dual stack IPv4 and IPv6 with external connectivity to the rest of the internet for most of this time. Attempts thus far to bring these services to our customers have been limited due to the lack of demand, vendor support and our core IPv4 operations taking precedence.

Engineer ipv6

Stop press ipv4 pool down to 2% as 4x /8s allocated in November

The title says it all. I’m travelling at the moment with only an iPad to create posts with but I note on the wire that the IANA address pool is down to 2%.

I will need to revise my exhaustion date but february is either looking good or too late. My main concern is that I need to get the Apocalypse IPv4 party organised but am unclear about the date.

The end of the ipv4 world is nigh :))))

Engineer ipv6

IPv4 address pool dropped to 4%

picture courtesy of IANA.orgThe IPv4 address pool dropped to 4% remaining yesterday, or at least that’s when I noticed.

Nov 16 2009 10% – dropped through 400,000,000 mark
Jan 20th 9%
Feb 25th 8%
May 10th 7%
June 2nd 6%
August 5%
Oct 18th 4%

I’m still sticking to my February 24th 2011 date for exhaustion – that’s only 4 months away. The counter currently reads June 6th. Not much in it really.

If anyone is interested in buying a block of IPv4 addresses I have secured sole access rights for the following.

Engineer ipv6

IPv4 address range for sale – Nigerian Army Surplus stock

Dear Sir

I am the widow of Major General Ndabeninge Ndabeninge of the Nigerian Army Internet Warfare Division. Before he mysteriously died of a particularly potent computer virus my honourable and most beloved husband was very active in AfriNIC, the African Internet Registry and was able to secure a /8 block of IPv4 addresses for the exclusive use of the Nigerian Armed Services.

Now that he is no longer with us the Nigerian military high command has decided to close down this branch of the service as part of cost cutting measures.  The war against cybercrime here in Nigeria has cost the country dearly – people are no longer falling for the scams. Because of this the block of IPv4 addresses is now surplus to requirements.

Engineer internet ipv6

Top IPv6 websites – none of the big guys in it

Work done by Mike Leber of Timico peering partner Hurricane Electric suggests that of the Alexa top 1 million domains only 2136 of them are IPv6 ready – that is to say they are running native IPv6.

With less than a year to go ot IPv4 exhaustion this suggests there is still much to be done.

It is brought home when you compare the top 50 sites with the top 50 IPv6 enabled sites – none of the domains in the former is listed in the latter. Now this doesn’t come as much of a surprise – big sites need to tread carefully as they

Engineer engineering internet ipv6

IPv6 to IPv4 tracert showing NAT

tracert showing IPv6 to IPv4 NAT with end destination - click to enlarge
tracert showing IPv6 to IPv4 NAT – click to enlarge


Adrian Kennard of AAISP gave a talk on their implementation of IPv6  at yesterday’s UK Network Operators Forum (UKNOF).  Whilst it may not be of huge interest to most readers it is worth taking a look at how the old IPv4 and new IPv6 networked worlds will talk to each other.

The picture below represents a tracert to the website.  The BBC sits on an IPv4 network.  AK is moving  AAISP exclusively to IPv6. His customers still need to be able to reach everywhere on the internet and this is done by Network Address Translation (NAT), something that most people will associate with private internal IP addresses.

The tracert clearly shows the long originating IPv6 address 2001:8b0:0:31::51bb:1ffa and the point in the network at which NAT is used to convert to IPv4, in this instance when connecting to the LONAP peering exchange. The shorter address is the more familiar IPv4 format.

Thanks for Adrian for permission to use this.  His presentation can be found here.

Engineer internet ipv6

IPv6 on the Timico core

As the clock continues to tick on the IPv4 exhaustion counter I note that we have dropped down to 8% of addresses remaining.  I don’t know when this happened but I certainly get the feeling at as we approach the end it is speeding up – I was expecting it to slow down as people conserve address space.

Anyway I’m pleased to say we have now rolled out IPv6 across the Timico core network.  Not open for business yet but we are getting there and we do have a few trialists up and running.

Any bets on when the counter gets to 5%?

dns Engineer internet ipv6

IPv6 DNS progress

IPv6 is on my mind and we have been busy in the background getting ready for the big day. You will have noticed the countdown timer on the bottom right of this blog. Time is marching on.

This last week we have been working on our IPv6 DNS capability. DNS is one of the first steps on the road to IPv6 deployment. It’s all very well having all your routers enabled but if noone can surf to a website, or send emails (to that fridge) then it’s no good is it?

For those of you that know these things:


;; ANSWER SECTION: 86400 IN AAAA 2001:40a0:5:53::10

PS if you really need to ask about the fridge then leave a comment or email me at tref at trefor dot net :-). Don’t be embarassed now.  I could just have easily have said light bulb 🙂