[arin-ppml] IPv6 in the Economist

Robin Whittle rw at firstpr.com.au
Mon Jun 9 16:33:43 EDT 2008

I tried to correct what I saw as errors and omissions in the article:


with the following comments.  For more on my Ivip proposal to solve
the routing scaling problem, see:


  - Robin

The most important error or omission in this article is that it
fails to mention that a computer with only an IPv6 address cannot
communicate directly with a computer with only IPv4 address. Email
works fine, and some applications can work via proxy servers or
application level gateways. Apart from that, the IPv6 Internet is
quite separate from the IPv4 Internet we
all use today.

Many application programs only work with IPv4 and would require a
significant rewrite to operate with IPv6 only, or with "dual-stack"
IPv4 and IPv6.

Almost every user needs full IPv4 connectivity, so they need an IPv4
address. There is currently no advantage to having an IPv6 address
because essentially every website, server or computer of other
end-users is is reachable via IPv4.

"Nearly 85% of available addresses are already in use;". 1.7B IPv4
addresses are handled by the routing system, of the 3.7B which are
available. Of these, probably only a few hundred million are
actually used (1).

By continued use of Network Address Translation (NAT) and finer
slicing and dicing of IPv4 space, IPv4 space can be used much more
efficiently than at present. For instance, the map-encap proposals -
LISP, APT, Ivip and TRRP - currently being developed by the IRTF
Routing Research Group (2) would all facilitate much finer and more
efficient management of IPv4 space without further burdening the
core BGP routing system.

Windows XP can only perform DNS lookups (required for every IPv4 or
IPv6 application) over an IPv4 service.

Neither Comcast nor any other ISP has figured out how to meet the
needs of ordinary end-users with an IPv6-only service. Most games,
peer-to-peer and other applications (other than web-browsers and
email clients) are IPv4-only.

Since its inception in the mid-1990s, IPv6 has not met the needs of
significant numbers of users or ISPs. The IPv4 address shortage
won't change this, since for many years to come it will be easier
and better to use IPv4 space more intensively than to try to sell
end-users an IPv6 service which can't meet their needs and would
involve intolerable levels of support calls and customer
dissatisfaction even if it met 90% of their needs.

Robin Whittle Analyst, Paul Budde Communications

(1) http://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Heidemann08a.pdf,

(2) http://www3.tools.ietf.org/group/irtf/trac/wiki/RoutingResearchGroup

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