IETF 100, Singapore: IPv6 the time is now, ISOC Fellows

By on 16 Nov 2017

Category: Tech matters

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Over the past few days, I’ve got to spend some quality time with the ISOC Fellows who are attending IETF 100 in Singapore.

The ISOC Fellowship to the IETF is open to representatives from a range of roles in governance, regulatory oversight, law enforcement, research and education. Those who are attending IETF 100 come from many economies including Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Pakistan, Samoa, Singapore, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.

I spoke to them during a policy session about the importance of maintaining pace with the emerging IPv6 network. It’s clear from trend graphs worldwide, and within the Asia Pacific, that there is now a substantive IPv6-enabled economy online. Users include developed, developing, free-market and planned economies, networks large and small, cellular, cable, and fibre. In fact, whatever the underlying technology you can expect somebody to be using IPv6 — it’s the new normal.

What I wanted to communicate here was that deploying IPv6 has moved beyond a research question. From now on, we have a dual-stack network. It is not clear when we will be able to discuss IPv4 as a legacy option, but we cannot ignore IPv6 in planning and governance policy discussions. Therefore, it’s important to answer the following question when it comes up in such conversations.

Is IPv6 insecure?
No — no more than IPv4 is. You cannot simply apply IPv4 filtering and security models without some thought because the protocols are not identical. That said, the risk exposure is not radically different.
Like any decision there are upsides to IPv6 — a reduction of opportunistic scanning threats, use of privacy addresses, the reduction in logging complexity compared to carrier-grade NATs (CGN) and the ability to simplify some rules based on simpler prefix assignment models — as well as downsides — you cannot filter ICMPv6 the way people routinely think they can filter ICMP — which have to be considered too.
Is IPv6 faster or slower?

It can be both; if your IPv6 is native, and your IPv4 goes through 464XLAT, it’s very likely IPv6 is faster. Likewise, if you talk about traffic on Facebook or LinkedIn and other content sources, which now routinely use IPv6 as their internal substrate, it very probably is faster. However, if you continue to route IPv6 over tunnels, because of a lack of direct peering and transit, your IPv6 path can be significantly worse than IPv4, which you probably have cost/speed optimized.


I truly believe the long-term total cost of ownership of an IPv6 Internet is likely to be less because it’s likely to be simpler. I believe that the governance questions about equity of economic access to a network for new entrants, the possibilities for innovation and permissionless networking are far higher in an IPv6 network, compared to CGN and market dominant behaviours from the incumbents holding IPv4.

Overall, we had a good conversation touching on training in IPv6, network design, security, the role of the International Mobile station Equipment Identity (IMEI) and identity in IP networks.

I think the investment ISOC has made to establish the Fellowship in the IETF (with the collaborative support of its partners like APNIC) in pursuit of long-term engagement with new minds/new agents of change, is a good one.

Well done to all the ISOC Fellows for taking their first steps into the IETF. Welcome aboard.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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