[arin-discuss] ipv6 technology supplier phone bank?

Paul Vixie vixie at vix.com
Sat Sep 26 10:41:55 EDT 2009

> Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 09:56:15 -0400
> From: alex phillips <highspeedlink at gmail.com>

(alex gave me permission to answer this private e-mail publically.)

> I must have missed the start of this thread but one of the issues we have
> seen in movement towards IPv6 was not only support but moreover the lack
> of profitable reasons to move to it.

agreed.  many have called this "the chicken/egg problem."  once there are
customers for IPv6 there will be technology and tools for it, but many of
the customers can't enter until the technology and tools are better and
more plentiful.  it's also important that until everybody else has adopted
IPv6 there is no obvious reason for any of us to adopt it -- since there is
nobody to talk to yet.  (so, at least two chickens and at least two eggs.)

> I think someone needs to take a lead on this front so that the logical
> move to IPv6 is also a profit driven move.

working backward from a theoretical new equilibrium where IPv6 growth is
profit driven, what's necessary is for the world to first run out of fresh
never-before-used IPv4, then reallocate and increase efficiency/utilization
of used-before IPv4, invent/deploy various new forms of "extreme NAT", and
finally have it be that new entrants to the Internet economy have no viable
IPv4-containing strategy and so then-existing participants add IPv6 so as
to continue growing their own customer bases.  throughout these processes,
dual-stack accretion will add new mostly-silent latent IPv6 endpoints.

this all seems inevitable, but the timing isn't set in stone, and so it's
not possible to perfectly judge when to make the dual stack leap.  jump too
early and you suffer by investing in technology that won't help your bottom
line in the current planning horizon.  jumping a little too late seems to
be the preferrable risk for many, which would be a self justifying prophecy.

the things we're uncertain of are therefore driving our business decisions,
which is an unhappy state of affairs.  we don't know exactly when IPv4 will
run out, we don't know when others will make the jump to IPv6 (thus giving
us someone to talk to if we make that same jump), we don't know how much
underutilized IPv4 space will come into a transfer market or how long that
much space (however much it is) will last and we don't know what new forms
of "extreme NAT" will be invented or what effects those will have on the
schedule by which everybody else is forced to IPv6 so it's safe to invest
in it and depend on it.

what we do know is that IPv4 *will* run out, and that no matter how much
new post-depletion network growth is enabled by an IPv4 transfer market,
the global information economy will eventually adopt some combination of
"extreme NAT" and IPv6.  and at that point IPv6 will be profitable.  but
that is not soon enough or certain enough to base a business plan on.

as a 501(C)(6) nonprofit business league, ARIN can help this transition by
making IPv6 easy to adopt.  i don't know how we can influence profitability,
which will be based on demand, which will be based on alternative costs.
the natural cutoff point where IPv6 becomes profitable will be after the
end of IPv4 growth, and so IPv6 will remain a defensive investment until
literally the day before it becomes a speculative investment.

Paul Vixie

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