Study shows growth of the internet may be at risk

Organisations and internet service providers (ISPs) which don’t pick up IPv6 will face complex engineering problems and a lot of expense, the Number Resource Organisation (NRO) has warned.

Axel Pawlik, chairman of the NRO, told TechEye: “As we’re moving towards IPv4 exhaustion, companies must wake up and begin to source IPv6 addresses from RIRs. However, many are not doing this leaving them open to huge expense and complex engineering later on.

“I don’t understand why companies don’t want to do this,” he added.

The warnings come as the NRO issues research looking at how IPv6 has been implemented. Funded by the European Commission and conducted by GNKS Consult and TNO, the study found that of the 1500 organisations surveyed, the majority are taking steps toward IPv6 deployment, as the IPv4 address pool continues to deplete rapidly.

The NRO has been warning organisations that IP addresses are critical for the operation of the internet as every internet-enabled device needs an IP address to connect to the rest of the network.

It found that the biggest threat facing the internet today is that less than 6 percent of the current form of IP addresses, IPv4, remain and the pool is likely to be completely depleted next year. This means that organisations need to adopt IPv6 and now.  

Approximately 84 percent of those questioned already have IPv6 addresses or have considered requesting them from the RIRs. However 16 percent of respondents have no plans to deploy IPv6 addresses.

Of those polled 58 percent were ISPs, which NRO said fell behind other organisations in IPv6 deployment. However, it warned that all organisations should ensure that their ISP offers or plans to offer services over IPv6.

“There is still a distinct lack of Internet traffic over the next addressing protocol, with not enough ISPs offering IPv6 services and 30 percent of ISPs saying the proportion of this traffic is less than 0.5 percent. It’s critical that ISPs now take the next step in the global adoption effort by offering IPv6 services to their customers to help boost traffic over IPv6,” Pawlik said.    

The study also showed that there were some misconceptions around the cost of adopting IPv6.

Over half of all respondents noted that the cost of deployment was a major barrier for IPv6 adoption. Of the 84 percent of respondents that have requested IPv6 addresses or have considered doing so, three-quarters reported the need to stay ahead of competition as the main reason for IPv6 adoption.
The UK is a little slow on the uptake of IPv6 too. According to NRO figures we’re at just 30 percent, while Slovenia is way up ahead at 70 percent.