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Status Report on IPv6

In the February 2, 2011 blog about IPv6 I concluded that: “ … Despite high-level policy mandates promulgated in 2003 and in 2010 the IPv4 to IPv6 conversions will not happen very soon.” *

Various reports agreed that the scarcity of IP addresses was a geographic occurrence. This was caused by insufficient initial allocation of addresses to the Pacific region. There was also a widespread understanding that there was no shortage of IP addresses when examined from a global point of view.

For the first time we have now a credible report about the current levels of IPv6 usage, as a percentage of all Internet traffic. This was collected from six major telecomm carriers. ** The findings are surprising:

The IPv6 traffic in the last three months averaged less than 0.20% of total traffic. That can be considered to be a negligible amount.

The traffic statistics sample shows that the highly promoted urgency to migrate into IPv6 has no merit. In the foreseeable future, the solution to the local scarcity of IP addresses can be found through a reallocation of IP surplus rather then engaging in a costly campaign to bring about the restructuring of systems.

Meanwhile an active market has been created for the more scarce IPv4 addresses. As a part of the bankruptcy settlement Microsoft has offered to buy Nortel’s 666,624 IPv4 addresses for $7.5 million.
That is $11.25 per address. Since IPv4 addresses are “virtual property” they can be sold nevertheless.

The IPv4 protocol has 4.3 billion addresses. As of the end of 2010 only 533 million of these numbers has been assigned. *  This leaves 3.8 billion addresses potentially available for deployment. If Microsoft pegged the worth of an IPv4 address at $11.25 then there is a potential of $40 billion dollars worth of virtual numbers available somewhere for re-allocation.


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