IPv6 in Enterprise , Should we still talk about it?

5 years ago Jeff Doyle and I recorded a podcast on IPv6 in Enterprise. We talked about IPv6 addressing plan , adaption and growth rate of IPv6 in Enterprise.

In this post I would like to talk about IPv6 deployment status,  challenges and the possible business drivers in IPv6 and I will share my thoughts on IPv6 deployments in 2019.

Comments are always welcome, please don’t hesitate to share it in the comment box below.

Despite what IPv6 evangelists say, unfortunately, I see IPv6 is a big failure. Both for many Service Providers as well as Small and Medium Scale Enterprise networks.

Based on Google Statistics, IPv6 traffic is around 15 – 20% and this is mostly because large content providers and CDN companies IPv6 deployments.

When we consider the individuals , such as home users or small and medium size businesses, more than 90% of the networks are still not IPv6 enabled, as of 2019.

Biggest business drivers of IPv6 in Enterprise networks are business continuity and incoming traffic performance.

Let me explain these two points a bit and let’s analyze whether they are really a driver that can scare the companies or do they see value , or do they have an easy and cheaper alternatives.


Business Continuity as a Business Driver of IPv6 deployment in Enterprise Networks: 


There are IPv6 only networks. When these networks need to reach IPv4 Internet, NAT is required. When the content is on IPv6, IPv6 only network can reach to the content without NAT.


If an Enterprise want to continue three businesses for the IPv6 only networks, Enterprise need to enable IPv6 on their network. That was the idea behind this business driver but unfortunately theory doesn’t match with the practice.


Still Enterprises don’t deploy IPv6 and waiting source traffic to be NATed , maybe true NAT 64 +DNS 44 or other alternative translation mechanisms.


Second business driver is performance of having the content both on IPv4 and IPv6 , so basically a Dual Stack. Before continue reading this business drivers, please read my post ‘ Is Dual Stack really the best IPv6 transition mechanism? ‘ 


Incoming Network Traffic Performance as a IPv6 Business Driver for Enterprise Networks


When Service Providers need to do NAT on their network to connect IPv4 Only and IPv6 Only network, NAT added extra latency and possibly break some applications. Application which may work though one level of NAT may not perform well or at all with multiple level of NAT.

If Enterprise companies content is available on IPv6 and the Service Providers don’t have to perform NAT but passes IPv6 traffic natively, performance can be improve by removing NAT from the path.

Although this can be another valid business case, probably lack of analysis to justify performance improvement ,  other business priorities or many other reasons, unfortunately this business driver doesn’t push Enterprise networks to deploy IPv6.

Other than competition or regulatory mandates, IPv6 in Enterprise don’t have realistic business drivers. If your competitor deploy IPv6, this pushes you to deploy it too whether there is a true benefit for your network or not.


2 Replies to “IPv6 in Enterprise , Should we still talk about it?”

  1. Take a look at my current Infoblox blog post, perhaps some of those points you can incorporate. https://community.infoblox.com/t5/IPv6-CoE-Blog/The-Problem-Isn-t-the-Price-of-IPv4/ba-p/16187 And I am happy to take your feedback regarding the arguments.
    Also, quoting worldwide adoption numbers is a disservice to everyone, there is no context. Let’s dive into a specific example of India. Currently India is reporting around 36% adoption (which is a rapid deployment, pretty much due to a single service provider over the last year) and with an estimated population of 1.339 billion that works out to about 482 million people (doing simple math, I think there are more refined ways but that is another topic). That is greater than the population in the US (estimated at 325.7 million) and the US has a revised number of 35.6% adoption. While the US is ahead in terms of number of service providers, content providers and public clouds adopting IPv6 the impact is different and while 115.9 million people using IPv6 in the US is impressive it is still just 1/4 of the users in India. So, the real question for Enterprises is do they care that so many people with mobile devices doing IPv6 can’t reach their content. If not, they will remain IPv4 but they will eventually have to dual-stack content and potentially VPN services. They will have to provide IPv6 to test and validate their content on IPv6 but that can be limited. So, I agree many will likely keep running IPv4 networks but they cannot afford to ignore IPv6. And remember, for every flow over IPv6 there is one less on IPv4 which reduces its utility and impact on the network. Eventually more and more traffic shifts over and it becomes too much of a burden to maintain both. That is a long tail process but it is a very real one.

    1. Thanks for the comment Ed , interestingly we haven’t met face to face yet though we join many conferences all the time. We have been saying , eventually they will, but that time is not coming. Finding a business driver , making a consultancy businesses for IPv6 in Service Provider is realistic but unfortunately having dual stack network is just not needed or not prioritized for Enterprises.

      Nowadays there are many other things they involve , IBN, SD-WAN , SDN , Cloud , blah blah , but not IPv6.
      As I indicated in the post, competitor did so we should do it too and regularity mandate. I see these two are the reasons why Enterprises still talk about IPv6.
      Please let me know what else do you see as a realistic/true business driver for IPv6 in Enterprise.

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