IPv6 – mainstream, yet?

Is IPv6 getting enough traction to be called mainstream, yet?  Sort of. Lots of groups are tracking world wide IPv6 adoption through various means, often looking at the percentage of web sites that are IPv6 reachable. But is this the right metric?

World IPv6 Launch Day did “prove” that IPv6 is viable and that more people are using it. But, does it matter that Romania has 8.64% adoption or that the US has 1.77%, or that France has 4.61%? How does that relate to a “real user”?  The answer of course is that it doesn’t.  I don’t (often) visit Romanian or French web sites, and the experience of Internet users in those countries is affected by the use (or lack) of IPv6 elsewhere in the world.  Facebook, Google, Twitter and others are all worldwide communities.

One way to see how (if) IPv6 adoption is affecting you is to look at which web sites that you visit every day are IPv6 capable.

I took the last 30 days of browser history from my laptop and looked at the IPv6 reachability for the sites that I actually use on a regular basis. Here are the results.

I started with the Firefox add-in “History Export 0.4” and exported my history for the past 30 days. This showed that I visited over 10,000 URLs in the recent past. This raw data was massaged by some Perl  and Emacs macros to process, sort and extract unique domain names.  Finally I used a bash script to do DNS lookups for A and AAAA records for all the unique hostnames that remained.

Here are the results:

  • 10202 URLs in 30 day history
  • 1310 unique host names (there were lots and lots and lots of Gmail URLs!)
  • 125 of the unique host names had AAAA records indicating IPv6 reachability
  • 2(!) hosts had AAAA records and no A records – IPv6 ONLY sites!  W00t!

So about 9.5% of the sites that I visited in the past 30 days are IPv6 capable.  That’s more than I had expected and more than the general Google IPv6 stats would suggest. Now, since I am doing IPv6 work I would expect to be an outlier, but am I an outlier for that reason?

Of the 125 IPv6 sites:

  • 27 are Google properties (Google, Gmail. Blogger, Google Code, Youtube, Android Market and similar)
  • 11 are IPv6 information or test sites
  • 10 are US .gov (more on this later)
  • 5 are notable open source projects (ISC Bind, ISC DHCP, Mozilla, Ubuntu, Fedora)
  • 8 are larger .EDUs like Stanford, UCLA, UCSD
  • 6 Internet governance and operations sites (IANA, IETF, Internet Society, ARIN, APNIC)
  • 6 are blogs hosted at blogspot.com
  • 5 of the sites are Facebook properties
  • 2 Netflix sites
  • 2 Wikipedia
  • 2 Yahoo properties
  • the rest (almost 40) are singleton sites – individually hosted blogs, news and aggregation sites (political, tech)

This means that 91% of the IPv6 sites I visit are probably typical for a “regular” Internet user. Most of the most popular properties are represented in IPv6-land: Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, NetFlix and similar.

It also shows that while individual sites are making progress (those 37 singletons), many hosted sites will get upgraded through no action of their own when their hosting provider (or cloud provider) makes the switch.  Between then, Blogger and Blogspot are now hosting thousands of personal blogs that are IPv6 capable.

Personally, I can’t wait for WordPress.com to make the switch.

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