Optimized content providers connect faster over IPv6

By on 15 Aug 2016

Category: Tech matters

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Content providers should consider following the lead of Facebook and optimize their websites, back end infrastructure, and apps to ensure both IPv4 and IPv6 are equally fast and reliable, according to recommendations in a new report from the Swiss IPv6 Council.

During February and March 2016, the Swiss IPv6 Council, in collaboration with Nephos6, conducted a study to monitor 19 dual-stack websites in Switzerland to compare the access performance of IPv4 vs IPv6.

“From our observations IPv4 and IPv6 are generally on par in terms of reliability and speed among the websites we monitored, with Facebook and LinkedIn offering better performance over IPv6,” says Silvia Hagen, president of the Swiss IPv6 Council.

Silvia says the performance of both LinkedIn and Facebook was a testament to their investment in optimizing their systems.

“There are so many factors that influence overall performance that you cannot relate everything to the IP version,” explains Silvia. “For instance, Facebook optimized everything for IPv6-only, by creating an IPv6-only back end and developing IPv6-only optimized apps. All these factors definitely contribute to why Facebook is one of the sites where IPv6 is always faster.”

Although many of these investments can be expensive from a cost perspective, Silvia says it is important to invest in the performance of the future Internet protocol, recommending that content providers take incremental steps.

“As one CEO of a large content provider in Switzerland said to me: if you can prove that a website’s performance is 500ms faster over v6 than over v4, I will get money from businesses because they know that is the threshold where they start to lose customers,” she says.

Among the report’s recommendations are that content providers monitor their services; provide dual-stack on their websites; carefully choose their hosting solution, whether it be internal or external; carefully choose their CDN; make good SLAs for both protocols; and optimize their backend and apps for IPv6.

“Ultimately what needs to be remembered is that investing in good application and back end architecture will not only improve IPv6 performance but also IPv4 performance.”

The study concluded in June 2016 and was coordinated by the Swiss IPv6 Council who organized for 19 of its members to be a part of the study, and conducted by Nephos6 who monitored and compared several key performance indicators including: ping, traceroute (TCP), DNS resolve, connect time (handshake) and load time.

Read the report [PDF 10.7MB]

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