How IPv6 changes the world already

Posted on 2019-11-16 by ungleich

So we had all those nice, theoretical articles about how IPv6 could change the future. At ungleich we are already seeing many things changing and for that reason we start this series of blog articles about how IPv6 changes the world.

The Base Claims

When starting a series of blog entries about how IPv6 changes the world, there are some assumptions and general understandings. In this article we will try to illustrate what we think is already given.

Claim 1: Everyone can have IPv6 connectivity

We know that not every ISP provides IPv6 connectivity yet, but that is really not a show stopper for IPv6 connectivity. We have even written an blog article about how to get IPv6 and our conclusion is: everyone can have IPv6 connectivity.

If you are missing options there, give us a shout, we are glad to add them. Point being, we are very confident saying there is nobody who cannot have IPv6 connectivity anymore. We even offer free IPv6 connectivity to hacker spaces.

If you very much disagree with us, we are open to be challenged by you.

Claim 2: Everyone can host content IPv6 reachable

If you are in the content or publishing business, you can easily have your content reachable by IPv6. All bigger CDNs support IPv6 and even if you happen to host on an IPv4 only web hoster, there is, a proxy service enabling all your IPv4 content by IPv6.

And we don't say you should be using that service, you can also easily build it yourself: you can use any IPv6 only VM and you can setup a proxy for yourself.

Claim 3: The world is now really moving towards IPv6

We know, there was this very, very unfortunate miscommunication many years ago that we already ran out of IPv4 addresses. That was only IANA running out of blocks to assign to the RIRs, however the RIRs (RIPE, APNIC, AFRINIC, lacnic and ARIN) did have plenty of IPv4 addresses left. This situation changed since 2011 and now ARIN is really out of IPv4, RIPE is likely to run out of IPv4 in 2019. LACNIC and AFRINIC are soon (probably 2020) to follow. APNIC on the other hand is already having a per resource fee, which let it run out of IPv4 slower.

But, and there is the big but: APNIC slowing down the IPv4 run out has a cost. And the cost is for companies who are relying on IPv4 addresses. So if you are in the APNIC region, you already pay around 1800 AUD for a /22 IPv4 network yearly.

The situation is somewhat similar in the regions that are running out of IPv4, only that you need to buy or lease your IPv4 space there from some market. The price for an IPv4 address is around $25 at the moment, so if you were to buy a /22 IPv4 network, you would have to spend more than $25'000. And this is not feasible for most SMB.

Even if you don't acquire IP addresses directly from a RIR and run your service on a cloud like GCP, you begin to pay more for IPv4 addresses now.

So what is the alternative? It clearly is IPv6. Not because there are many IP addresses in IPv6, but because IPv6 is affordable.

So in short, why the world now really moves to IPv6:

  • IPv4 now becomes a real cost factor
  • It is not easy to acquire additional IPv4 space anymore
  • IPv6 is economically more feasible
  • We take the way of the least resistance, which is now IPv6

Claim 4: IPv6 will re-enable end users

Due to the long ongoing IPv4 shortage, we are very much used to NAT. Some people even believe that private IPv4 addresses are more secure, which, generally speaking, is a bogus claim. You still need a firewall, as you do with IPv6.

The bigger problem with private IPv4 addresses is that users have been taught that they cannot reach each other directly. And this eventually led to the rise of cloud services, because people were unable to reach each other or to exchange data directly.

The Internet was built with the idea that everyone can reach everyone else directly. NAT was only introduced due to the shortage of IPv4 addresses.

With the advent of IPv6, there are many "new old" ways of how we can work together.

Claim 5: End users start to care

Directly following from claim 3 & 4 and also something that we noticed happening in 2019: Real end users start to care about IPv6. The amount of tweets on Twitter containing #ipv6 is growing and people are asking more vendors more often to support IPv6 on their infrastructure (like here for discord).

The changes of IPv6 to the world

In the next articles we will describe some real, practical changes of what we use and how we can work differently with IPv6. If you already have suggestions, we are happy to read them on ipv6 at or on the IPv6 Chat.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in giving IPv6 only VPS a try, there is a 50% discount only until Black IPv6 Friday.