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What we learned at IPv6 Council 2017

On Tuesday morning, I made my way across London to attend to the annual IPv6 Council meeting. This
was the first time Spectrum Internet would be at the annual conference which is currently in its 4th
year. We felt that it was important to be there, not only to be part of a collective group that promotes
the sharing of best practices, but to be alongside fellow professionals that are just as passionate about
the adoption of IPv6, and the subsequent decommissioning of IPv4.

What is IPv6

Every web ready device on the internet needs an IP (Internet protocol) address. That’s how devices
communicate with each other. Until recently, the format for IP addresses was IPv4, a system of IP
addresses which allowed for 4,294,967,296 unique addresses. With advancements in technology and
most of us carrying a smart device daily, this IP address allocation has run out. IPv6 has replaced IPv4,
with longer addresses including letters and numbers, giving us an incredible
340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 new IP addresses that can be allocated to
devices.

What we learned

The day started with introductions and updates on the UK’s IPv6 status. One of the most important
facts presented was that 25% of the UK now supports IPv6, whether standalone or dual stack.
Although these supported connections are mostly from ISPs and home users, this stat alone should be
enough of a reason for enterprises and services providers to start supporting the UK’s IPv6 Users. It’s
imperative that businesses adopt IPv6 to ensure their internal networks continue to operate
efficiently, and at Spectrum Internet we’re staying ahead of the competition by adopting IPv6 earlier
than most to ensure a trouble-free service for our customers.

Guest speakers

We had subsequent talks from Cisco, BBC, Facebook, and a handful of smaller UK based ISPs, some of
which are routing as much as 20% IPv6 traffic in total, which is a massive improvement compared to
only a few years ago. The BBC are reporting seeing as much as 16% of their total traffic hitting their
websites as being from IPv6 users. This traffic is generally highest on the weekends due to it being
residential users accessing from home. Facebook’s talk was very impressive, with the social media
giant boasting 99.999% of their network now being IPv6, with only a small handful of legacy IPv4
devices still online.

What we’re taking away

Being at the event was extremely beneficial for us as an ISP. It helped confirm that our IPv6 rollout
plan is on the correct path and that we are following similar design choices to those that have already
made the change. It was interesting to hear the technical debates around which flavour of IPv6 DHCP
is the best to use, and whether RIPE’s address assignment advice is too cautious.

When will Spectrum Internet release a trial?

With the rollout of Dual Stack IPv6 across our core network over the last year, as well as getting our
different services up to speed, we are very close to the start of our IPv6 customer trial. This pilot will
look to deliver dual stack IPv6 on top of the customer’s current connection, limited to providing WAN
connectivity, and assigning a LAN side subnet for the customer to implement on their network. Further
details of our pilot will be announced soon.
We’re looking for a wide variety of customers to take part in our IPv6 trial, such as residential, business
broadband and leased line customers. If you’re interested please contact us, and your connection will
be considered once we look to implement the pilot.

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