Archive for category personal IT

When will support IPv6?

Dear, when will you support IPv6?

Over the past year I’ve watched more and more web sites come online on IPv6.  Some are “the usual suspects”; the high-tech, early adopter sites that you expect to be moving aggressively onto IPv6. Some early adopters have been surprising. While the WordPress software itself works fine over IPv6, itself seems to be a no show to the IPv6 game.

In fact, the only mention I can find from WordPress about IPv6 hosting is a blog post from World IPv6 Day in 2011.

This blog (hosted at has a lot of content about IPv6, and I get about one private comment every other month pointing out the irony that the blog can’t be viewed over IPv6.  I’d rather not move to (fully IPv6 capable), or spin up my own instance of WP if I an avoid it.

So, WordPress folks, can you at least give a timeframe for IPv6 support?

Since I’m an architect on a worldwide enterprise internal IPv6 rollout, I *do* understand the challenges involved, and the uncertainty that you might have on a fixed schedule.  But could we get at least a comment that “we’re working on it”, or “sometime in Q4 2013”, or “not planning to do this for at least a few years”?



No knowledge of #IPv6 at DSL Extreme (@DSLX_Status)

I’m still on my quest for native IPv6 at home.  Today’s attempt: DSL Extreme. Result: FAIL

The pricing from DSL Extreme looks very attractive, less than half that what I’m currently paying Megapath. However, based on my call to DSL Extreme support, you get what you pay for. While Megapath doesn’t have any announced plans for IPv6, their sales people knew exactly what it is, and my SpeakEasy/Covad/Megapath DSL has had 2 outages (of less than an hour each) in 10 years.

Let’s start with the extent of the IPv6 info on the DSL Extreme web site. Searching for IPv6 leads you to a knowledgebase article on reverse DNS. First off, this page is a complete lift from another web site,, except DSL Extreme took out the formatting that makes the page readable. Second, there’s pretty much no IPv6 info on this page.

So, I decided to try their sales/support department. That phone call didn’t go well, either.

Tech support had never heard of IPv6. Period. Full stop.  Sort of.  At first they tried to tell me that their “dynamic addresses are v6 and static are the old ones.” Then I spent almost 5 minutes trying to get across the idea that there actually was this “new thing called IPv6” and that I wanted to sign up for their service if they supported it. The best I could get from them was, and I quote, “The only addresses we have are dynamic and static”. I guess they have both kinds of music too (country AND western).

I’m so very glad that my IPv6 tunnel to has been 100% rock solid. If it wasn’t for Hurricane Electric, it might be another year or more until I could start learning and use IPv6 at home. Thanks to them, I’ve already been running IPv6 at home for 13 months!

UPDATE:  The above was written Dec 28 2012.  Today (8 Jan 2013) I got a response to my query into sales, from about 10 days ago:

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately we do not provide IPv6 and as of right now we have no intentions of providing it.
DSL Extreme.

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No #IPv6 from Cox Communications (@CoxComm)

I spent entirely too much time the other day, trying to get IPv6 information from Cox Communications. It was not a good experience.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to find anything useful about IPv6 on their web sites.  I found a FAQ, which has some IPv6 technical information, but nothing about roll outs, trials, schedules or plans, other than “residential trials in 2013”.  At least that’s more than some other ISPs have been able to tell me.

So I decided to try Cox online chat “support”. This was so full of fail that I was compelled to share the experience. It looks like they’ve outsourced support to something called “”. While this conversation looks short, it actually took more than 8 minutes, and it looks like their support doesn’t speak English very well. I could overlook that, if they could answer my question.

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 12.34.10 PM


Megapath – no #IPv6 plans?

I just got off the phone with Megapath sales, they have “no plans for IPv6“. That seems….. short sighted.

That was a very short phone call, 45 seconds. Their sales people know what it is, at least, and they know they don’t (and won’t) have it any time soon.

Our home network started ‘way back in the 90s with the first ISDN connection in our central office, dialing into SDSC‘s POP. A few years later it was upgraded to ADSL (the first in our CO, again), with SpeakEasy. SpeakEasy, Covad, and Megapath did a three way merger in 2010.  The service has been rock solid for almost 10 years, but it doesn’t look like the new entity will be moving forward.

The (residential) broadband options in our suburb are very limited: cable modem from Cox, or ADSL.  I’m close enough the central office that I could see it, if not for the trees, so DSL has been a good choice. I could get the theoretical max speed, if I wanted to pay for it. Since Megapath won’t be doing IPv6, I’ll have to shop around to see if I have any options for native IPv6.

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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
  • 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 to make the switch.

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IPv6 – some interesting folks are making the move

I’m looking at some different ways to measure IPv6 reachability, and I’ve found some interesting sites that have already made the move.

I’ll have more details later, but I’ve been looking at the last 30 days of browsing history on my laptop.  I’m still crunching some numbers, but some interesting sites popped out.  Of course, all the Google properties, Facebook and the like have made the move, but some smaller sites are being more progressive than many of the usual suspects.

Here are some smaller and more interesting folks that have made the move. Some of these I found from RSS feeds aggregating gaming, beer and art.

NOTE: Some of these may not always come up in your browser via IPv6, especially if you have a Mac, which may suffer from “hampered eyeballs“.  Some of these appear to be in a testing phase, as they have AAAA records, but are not always reachable via IPv6 from all locations, or they may be behind broken load balancers.

Other than Tom, none of these people are involved in IPv6, but they’ve already made (or started to make) the move. I think it is encouraging that IPv6 has moved from the exclusive province of bleeding edge early adopters to the point that almost anyone can get on board with a little work.  As you can see, some of these seem to still be in transition but they’re heading in the right direction.

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Security – why programmers should study computing history

You can now add LinkedIn, eHarmony and to the long list of major sites that have had poor password security in their user database designs.  The saddest part is that in the case of LinkedIn, at least, this was apparently completely avoidable. (I haven’t found enough details to comment on the others, yet.)

Protecting stored user passwords is not rocket science.  This problem was pretty much solved in the 80s and 90s: Use a salted one-way hash function of sufficient strength to resist a dictionary attack.

(LinkedIn’s mistake was to use hashes, but to not salt them. )

That’s it.  Really.  UNIX has been using a salted hash since about 1985, initially with a hash based on DES. Since that time, as computing speeds have increased, new (salted) hash functions based on MD5, Blowfish, and SHA-2 have all been introduced.

In other words, stored password security has been a solved problem for at least 25 years. The concept is the same, only the algorithms have needed to be updated as Moore’s Law has dictated.

This is just one reason that programmers (and sysadmins) should study history, if only the history of computer security. Oh, if you’re not a cryptologist, for security-critical functions, please use well-vetted library functions.

A few references:

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IPv6 and MacOS X Lion – “Hampered Eyeballs”

As part of the IPv6 sprint at work last month, I ended up doing a lot of IPv6 research. For my part, I spent a lot of time researching “customer issues” and MacOS issues in addition to the purely technical work.

When I started the sprint, my laptop was on MacOS X Snow Leopard, which I used for all my home IPv6 work. Halfway through the sprint, I upgraded to MacOS X Lion.

The upgrade to Lion went well, but Apple has changed the behavior of some IPv6 features, and I personally would have to consider Snow Leopard as a better IPv6 platform than Lion.

Apple didn’t “break” IPv6 in Lion, but they did introduce a new problem, which has been dubbed “hampered eyeballs”.

I’ve noticed some newly-hampered IPv6 web browsing since the upgrade.  Some sites that came back solidly on IPv6 100% of the time, now come back as IPv4 up to 20% of the time. (Thanks IPvFox!)

This has lots of implications for how consumers will see the new Internet, especially during the transition.  According to some anecdotal remarks on some IPv6 mailing lists, this is being used as an excuse by some companies to delay (even more) any IPv6 transition or even dual stacking!

This last week was Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, next week is a global IPv6 meeting in New Jersey. I should have lots more “corporate” IPv6 info on the next 10 days.


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IPv6 – Apple Airport Utility 6.0 *breaks* IPv6!

Really, Apple.  I mean, REALLY?!

If you are using an Apple Airport for your IPv6 router, DO NOT upgrade the management utility to Airport Utility 6.0. You will be unable to manage your Airport’s IPv6 configuration.

Any IPv6 configuration will still be there in your Airport, but you won’t be able to see any of the IPv6 configurations, or change them.

Instead of a fully functional set of control panels managing everything from syslog servers, DHCP ranges to IPv6, you will be left with some kind of minimalistic, useless…. toy.

This is a huge step back, and I was unable to find any information about this on Apple’s web site. I found lots of complaints from frustrated customers, but nothing from Apple.

Fortunately, you can still get Airport Utility 5.6 from Apple’s web site, and you can install that in parallel with the 6.0 version.

I’m going to keep the 5.6 installer around in my backup system, just in case.



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IPv6 – World IPv6 Launch Day is coming – June 6 2012

Last year brought us World IPv6 (test) day on June 8.  Dozens of content providers, network backbones and other technical groups came together to do a live test of IPv6 in production. Results were very good, and provided enough evidence that planning for a real, permanent cutover to full “dual stack” was practical.

However, there were enough issues that many of the participants took down their IPv6 sites after the experiment.

But this year, it’s gonna be real. June 6 2012 is World IPv6 Launch Day. The same big names and many other are participating. More importantly, some of the major providers of CPE (customer premise equipment) AKA “home routers” are committed as well.

Cisco and D-Link are committed to shipping “home equipment” with compliant IPv6 stacks and Ipv6 enabled by default by this date. Facebook, Google, Bing and Yahoo! will all permanently enable IPv6 for their main sites. In the US, AT&T, Comcast and Time-Warner will activate IPv6 for at “significant” portions of their home wireline customers.

And this time, it’s permanent. Unlike the 24 hour experiment last year, this is a permanent change. I expect that all the participants will have to shake out configuration issues and software bugs after the launch, but at least now they are committed to making IPv6 work for everyone, from now on.

The only thing that might make this better would be commitments from the operating system vendors. Apple, Microsoft and the Linux community already have known issues that will need to be addressed. Having the home router providers commit to some level of IPv6 support (firmware upgrades) for at least some currently shipping products would also be good, but I suspect they would rather sell new gear.

I’m not in any area served by any of those ISPs, so I’ll be keeping my tunnel to Hurricane Electric. But I look forward to seeing more big green 6’s in my browser bar after this summer.

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