Welcome IPv4 user

Latest adoption statistics

According to Google's latest IPv6 adoption statistics, global adoption of IPv6 amongst users of Google's services crossed the 3% level earlier this month. Similarly, Akamai's statistics paint a picture of healthy and consistent growth in IPv6 usage of their services.

While South Africa is leading the pack within Africa, our statistics still lag behind the rest of the world by a significant margin. This is largely due to the fact that all of the most widely used access networks are still controlled by a small number of operators - none of whom have rolled out IPv6 to their end users or have provided IPv6 capable platforms to their wholesale service providers.

Three percent adoption of IPv6 may sound extremely small and that is because it is. When Google first reported crossing the 1% level many people made the same comment. What is important to consider is the growth: roughly 150% year-on-year.

If this same growth level continues then we will see IPv6 cross the 50% level to become the most dominant protocol in 2017. This could also happen even sooner as the IPv4 address space depletion takes hold in Europe this year and spreads to the Americas.

Much of the fanfare and excitement of IPv6 adoption is already over but we have a few more years of hard work ahead before it becomes the norm.


One year on

It has been almost a year since my last post here. The first World IPv6 Day has come and gone. There is now a little more awareness of IPv6 - which is definitely a good thing. But looking back on what I was blogging about a year ago and I realise that very little has actually changed.

I helped out with getting South Africa's biggest technical news and discussion site turned up for IPv6. MyBroadband got a AAAA record just in time for IPv6 Day and since then its been uneventful. More on that another day.

I was quite surprised when talking to a local cloud server provider that they were under the impression that World IPv6 Day was the first time that IPv6 had been used for real stuff. Paraphrasing their response slightly: "The first tests with IPv6 were only completed a few weeks ago. We don't think that there is any reason for us to be deploying such an immature technology"

Another person still stuck in the first phase of their mourning for the demise of IPv4 - DENIAL.


Can you afford to wait?

Many system administrators seem content that if their IPv4 is working then there is no reason to deploy IPv6. The thought is that "IPv4 is not going to die any time soon so why should I bother with IPv6?"

Some predictions for the African region suggest that AfriNIC will continue to have IPv4 addresses available until 2014. "We have plenty of IPv4 space. We won't run out soon. Whats the point of putting IPv6 on my network."

The point is that its not about Africa. IPv6 becomes a requirement as soon as the first service launches that is IPv6 only and your customer wants to access that service. It is somewhat pointless having large amounts of IPv4 address space when the content that people want is not on the IPv4 Internet.

While it is likely that there will be much bartering and redistribution of IPv4 address space when the exhaustion phase happens in the next 100 days. Despite that, we can expect to see some IPv6 only services within quite a short period after the start of the exhaustion.


exim over IPv6 on cPanel

Exim has a mature IPv6 implementation and it is likely to be the first thing to start using the IPv6 connection you setup on your cPanel server. Most other services will only be used when you add a AAAA record to the relevant DNS zone.

Since SMTP also makes outbound connections it will immediately attempt to use IPv6 when attempting to communicate with other IPv6 capable mail servers. For this reason care should be taken when enabling IPv6 as it can potentially cause mail delivery problems. Ensure that at the very least the rDNS entries for your server's IP are correctly configured.

My biggest concern with mail delivery over IPv6 is that many antispam solutions do not properly understand an IPv6 address. Depending on how well a particular server is setup it may accept IPv6 mail or potentially discard it randomly and unpredictably. It is important to be reviewing you logs to identify mails that are being delivered (or not) over IPv6.

Configuring inbound mail also requires some care to ensure that your spam filters do not reject IPv6 email. It is currently fairly safe to apply an accept all rule matching all IPv6 mail but this is not going to continue.

cPanel normally uses the same A record for your website and your mail. For this reason I suggest that you don't just add a AAAA to your sites main hostname since this will cause slowdowns on your website if your IPv6 setup is not perfect. The solution to this is to add a new A record for specifically for mail: mx.yourdomain.co.za. Then add an AAAA for the same hostname and adjust your MX records to point to your new hostname.

You then want to get someone to send you mail via IPv6. The easiest way to do this is to join a mailing list that runs on IPv6 enabled servers.


Time for some audience participation

I have added a new feature to the blog template. You'll notice a thin coloured bar right at the top of the page.

If you see a red bar then you are using a legacy IPv4 connection. If - however - you see a green at the top of the page then you are visiting this site over IPv6. If you're sure that you've setup IPv6 but you still see a red bar then your IPv6 is most likely broken.

Now I'm interested in getting some feedback from you. If you reach this site over IPv6 then please post a comment about the service provider that you are using or the tunnelling mechanism that you are using.

Looking forward to some feedback.