Over the past 25 years the Internet has experienced astronomical growth – far more than the original architects imagined. As a result, the pools of unallocated IPv4 blocks have been accelerating toward exhaustion. In fact, on February 3rd, 2011 the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocated the remaining pool of addresses equally among the five Regional Internet Registries thereby completely depleting the source of IPs available under IPv4. Consequently, it has become vital for all Internet stakeholders to get serious about migrating to IPv6.
IPv4 was released in 1981 as a 32-bit range that provided roughly 4.3 billion IP addresses. Unfortunately, in just a few years, the protocol was identified to have scalability problems under the Classful Network architecture it employed at the time. As a result, the IETF was formed in 1991 and replaced the previous addressing architecture with Classless Inter-Domain Routing (CIDR) with the goal of slowing the growth of routing tables across the Internet and ultimately the depletion of IPv4 addresses.
With IPv4 address exhaustion inevitable, in 1998 the IETF announced a new protocol known as IPv6. This new protocol uses 128 bit addresses capable of supporting 340 undecillion addresses. To put that into context it amounts to: the existing Internet times the Internet times the Internet times the Internet worth of addresses.
Obviously this allows for many more devices on the network and while also eliminating the need for Network Address Translation (NAT).
However, adoption of IPv6 has been pitifully slow. In fact, according to a recent study by Arbor Networks, IPv6 represents less than 1% of all IP traffic seen on the Internet and very few cloud hosting providers have stepped up to help make this necessary transition possible for their subscribers.
The essence of the problem comes down to this: service providers don’t want IPv6 because there is no subscriber demand, subscribers don’t want it due to lack of content, and the content providers don’t want it unless there are subscribers. Nevertheless, the tipping point for the transition is around the corner and it is better to begin testing and migrating now rather than being left out in the game of IPv4 musical chairs. We don’t want to be part of the problem.
Linode – part of the solution
While this industry-wide problem has been challenging, Linode has accelerated its efforts towards IPv6 adoption. Subsequently, Linode is proud to announce today native IPv6 support. This will be a phased roll-out across the facilities, starting with immediate availability in Fremont, Newark in a week or so, followed by Dallas. For current IPv6 availability please see the Linode IPv6 Status and Frequently Asked Questions page which will be maintained here: http://www.linode.com/IPv6/.
UPDATE 2011-05-05 – Newark online and IPv6 Pools available
UPDATE 2011-05-26 – Dallas is now IPv6 enabled!
UPDATE 2011-05-31 – There’s now an ‘Enable IPv6’ link on your Linode’s Remote Access subtab.
UPDATE 2011-12-20 – London and Atlanta IPv6 Enabled – blog post.
UPDATE 2012-02-28 – IPv6 Available Everywhere! – blog post.