September 14, 2015Networking and Traffic · Performance · @Scale

IPv6: It's time to get on board

Paul Saab

We’ve long been anticipating the exhaustion of IPv4 in favor of the speed and performance benefits of IPv6. For years, we’ve known the limitations of IPv4, and these limitations were what stimulated the development of IPv6 as early as the 1990s (though it wasn’t in commercial deployment until 2006).

Despite this long-lead knowledge of where IPv4 would fall short and its 2.0 version, IPv6, being around this long, only 16.3 percent of the top 1,000 websites have enabled IPv6 (according to Alexa.com). That means there’s another 83.7 percent that are missing out on the benefits of IPv6.

From better performance and engagement to a larger addressing space, IPv6 has a host of technical benefits that should cause people to take a second look:

  • Easier management of networks: IPv6 networks provide auto-configuration capabilities; they are flatter, simpler, and more manageable.
  • End-to-end connectivity integrity: Direct addressing is possible, due to vast address space. The need for network address translation devices is eliminated.
  • Improved interoperability and mobility capabilities (which are already widely embedded in network devices).

Indeed, leading global operators who have deployed IPv6 have reported faster throughput and higher engagement numbers when comparing the same devices using IPv4 and IPv6 per network.

Several years ago, Facebook decided to move early and migrate to IPv6. We’ve observed that accessing Facebook can be 10-15 percent faster over IPv6. We believe other developers will see similar advantages from migrating.

IP was originally created for end-to-end connectivity, but we’ve gotten away from that as Internet growth has taken off and added many technologies to help slow the consumption of IPv4. With IPv6, we’re able to return to end-to-end connectivity, and who knows what new technologies can then be created, with address shortages now a thing of the past?

It’s time to make the transition to IPv6. Don’t be left behind!

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