[arin-ppml] IPv6 Heretic thoughts

Cliff Bedore cliffb at cjbsys.bdb.com
Thu Sep 4 13:40:43 EDT 2008

Having been reading this group for approaching a year or so now, I think
I've seen the problem with adopting IPv6.  Nobody really wants it.
There is no CEO in the world sitting around saying "Boy I can't wait to
get us on IPv6" and there is no Joe Sixpack sitting at home who gives a
rats a** about IPv6 vs IPv4.  They want to get to Google or ESPN or 
their favorite porn site or their favorite gaming site or gambling site.

The problem:  There is no compatibility bit in IPv6 that says I'm just
like IPv4 but I have 96 more address bits.  Lacking this, I think the
only way to get IPv6 going is to develop a transparent IPv6 to IPv4
translator and convert the entire "Internet backbone" to IPv6.  If I'm
reading stuff correctly, something like NAT64 is a good starting point
but there is more required.  The backbone for the Internet will have to
be IPv6, DNS will have to be IPv6 and IPv4 will be treated as IPv6 on
the Internet and translated through the "converter box (CB)".  This
means that the CB will have to do both translation and DNS lookups for
the v4 hosts.  Since there are 64 bits per subnet in IPv6, there will
never be a subnet that can't split off IPv4 addresses through the CB for

That's a short summary of a big problem but I think it's obvious that
there has been little real adoption of IPv6.  We really need a program
that accomplishes what the US HDTV program did.  Tell people that "on
MM/DD/YY, the Internet backbone will be IPv6 only.  If you want to run
IPv4, you will need one(or more) of the converter boxes for your IPv4
addresses.  If you don't do this, you will lose Internet connectivity"

Advantages to this include

1.  All IPv4 space effectively becomes PI space since you can tuck your
IPv4 into any IPv6 subnet and not have to change anything but the
address of your CB(s).

2.  Routing tables should shrink since IPv4 can be removed and there
should be better aggregation.

3.  You don't throw out all the old IPv4 only systems/software.  Old
games work.  Old PCs work

4.  IPv4 local networks can still talk to IPv4 local networks across the
world "transparently". Any IPv4 browser should be able to go through the
CB and get to Google or any other web server.

5  Those who want to take advantage of the fancy parts of IPv6 can still
do so.

6.  No tunneling only translation.

7.  As time goes by, more and more of the Internet will become native
IPv6 and the conversion boxes can be retired but it should always be
possible to have that converter box to allow running some oddball old
software.  (I still have a 386 in my basement that runs DOS with packet
drivers and can telnet to any host that lets me have an account.)

I'm sure people can come up with  all kinds of reasons why this won't
work but let's face it; right now IPv6 is a dud.  Sure it works but it
can't talk to IPv4 simply and transparently and if the converter box
discussed above is technically impossible, IPv6 doesn't deserve to be
the next generation of IP addressing.  If the converter box works (and
it has to work with all of IPv4) then the only way to get people to IPv6
is to do something similar to what is discussed above.  I'm not
particularly pro or con re IPv6, I just see it not working in the
present method of rolling it out.  The U. S. government mandate of using
IPv6 is very reminiscent of the great GOSIP debacle of the 1990s and if
something doesn't change in how we do this, I frankly see IPv6 dying out
and a smaller group of good engineers will come up with something that
works instead of a protocol designed by an overly large committee that
wants everything but the kitchen sink.

Look at the successful conversions of the past.  The latest Pentium will
run MS DOS.  I can watch HDTV on my old TV, I believe it was IBM 360s
which ran "an older machine"(somebody here will remember) in emulation
mode.  The latest DVD drive can still play a CD.  People will adopt
something because it works for them without a lot of fuss or it is a
disruptive technology that offers something worth the conversion to
something new (think iPod).  I don't see IPv6 as ever being a disruptive
technology so it is going to have to be backward compatible in some way
or it will die.


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