Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight - World I Pv 6 Day

bashfulflowersSoftware and s/w Development

Jun 30, 2012 (4 years and 11 months ago)


Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight
World IPv6 Day
Executive Summary
On June 8th 2011, major web services, Internet providers and technology companies worldwide conducted a “test
flight” of IPv6. World IPv6 Day, organized by the Internet Society, brought together Internet stakeholders from around
the world, all of whom participated to find, fix, and learn from potential stumbling blocks as the Internet transitions
from IPv4 to IPv6.
Sandvine signed up for the event – with more than 220 Internet provider customers in more than 85 countries, we were
well positioned to measure the impact of this global Internet phenomenon. In fact, we directly assisted several Tier-1
North American Cable operators in assessing World IPv6 Day’s influence on their own networks.
Our analysis of the data these customers provided, which was completely free of personally identifiable information,
revealed some interesting observations.

Overall IPv6 traffic (which includes native IPv6 and transitional protocols) increased only modestly due to the
event, rising from 0.135% of average daily downstream traffic to 0.141%; IPv6 traffic peaked at 0.415% of North
America’s downstream traffic

While Teredo currently represents the bulk (80%) of IPv6 traffic, the largest relative increase belongs to 6to4, which
rose to account for more than 11% of overall IPv6 traffic

Normally P2P Filesharing accounts for the vast majority (more than 97%) of IPv6 traffic (since popular clients like
uTorrent support Teredo); however, during IPv6 Day, P2P Filesharing dipped in relative share due to surges in Real-
Time Entertainment (rising to 6% of IPv6 traffic, driven by YouTube support), Web Browsing (1.33%), and E-mail

When measured by HTTP bytes, YouTube is the big winner out of the major participating domains, accounting for
more than 98% of HTTP bytes carried over the Teredo transitional protocol
It is clear that the participation of Internet giants like Google (including YouTube)
and Facebook had a measurable impact on the profile of IPv6 traffic, most
notably as evidenced by the increases in Real-Time Entertainment, Web
Browsing and E-mail.
As IPv4 networks continue to make the transition to IPv6, and new
networking technologies requiring IPv6 (such as LTE), are rolled out
globally, it is important for Internet service providers to ensure their
network policy control solution is fully IPv6 capable. Consequently,
this global trial run of IPv6 served as an important benchmark, and was
closely watched in network operations centers around the world.
For Sandvine, this was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the IPv6
readiness and reporting capabilities of our Policy Traffic Switch (PTS), to
support our customers in measuring the impact of the event, and to assist
them in the technological evolution of their network.
On June 8th 2011, Internet service and technology companies around the world conducted what was dubbed a global
“test flight” of IPv6. Organized by the Internet Society
, the event brought together major web service providers
like Google and Facebook, content delivery network players like Akamai and Limelight, and more than 1000 other
participating websites and organizations worldwide.
The main goal of World IPv6 Day was to conduct a global-scale IPv6 experiment. By having many of the major Internet
companies simultaneously enable IPv6 on their websites, under controlled settings, it provided the opportunity to find,
fix, and learn from potential stumbling blocks that may be encountered as the Internet transitions from IPv4 to IPv6.
Additionally, the event served as an opportunity to raise awareness of the eventual transition to IPv6 that all Internet-
connected companies will eventually have to make.
With IPv4, IP addresses are 32-bits long (ex., and because of the explosive growth in web connected
devices, almost all of the 4.29 billion possible IPv4 addresses have been used up.
Because the limitations on IPv4 were known, work began in the late 1990s on IPv6, the protocol that will eventually
serve as the replacement. Unlike IPv4, IPv6 addresses should never run out – at 128-bits in size, IPv6 provides an
incredible 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 possible IP addresses, meaning that every connected
device can conceivably have a globally-addressable IP address.
IPv6 Protocols
To assist in the steady migration to an IPv6 world, a number of transition mechanisms have been defined. One such
mechanism is the collection of what are dubbed transitional protocols. These protocols enable IPv6-only hosts to
connect to IPv4 services and to allow these hosts to access IPv6 services across the IPv4 Internet by using a technique
called tunnelling, in which IPv6 traffic is encapsulated within IPv4 traffic. Although commonly used already, transitional
protocols like Teredo
(which is included by default in Windows 7), 6to4
and 6over4
, make up only a small portion of
over-all Internet traffic. IPv6 traffic that does not rely on a transition protocol is referred to as “native IPv6”.
In the two days leading up to IPv6 Day, IPv6 protocols (including native and transitional) represented 0.135% of total
downstream traffic. During the 24 hours of the event itself, this figure rose to 0.141% and peaked at 0.415% (visible
in Figure 1). These figures illustrate just how little IPv6 traffic is currently flowing through the world’s networks;
nevertheless, the impact of IPv6 Day was noticeable from a measurement standpoint.
1. For more information, visit the Internet Society’s website at
2. Compared to other transition protocols, Teredo’s primary distinction is that it functions even behind Network Address Translation (NAT) devices like
home routers. Wikipedia has a thorough article at
3. Similarly, interested readers can find more at
4. Again, more information is available at
Figure 1 - IPv6 Traffic as a Percentage of Total Downstream Traffic (Data Source: Sandvine Network Demographics)
Of the four protocols tracked in this report, which had the largest increase during the test flight? Figure 2 presents
downstream traffic averaged over the 24 hours of World IPv6 Day and shows that Teredo was by far the most popular of
the IPv6 protocols. As for change in popularity during the event, Figure 3 shows that native IPv6 and 6over4 remained
fairly constant; with the big winner being 6to4, which grew by 40.67% to account for 11.83% of total IPv6 traffic.
Figure 2 - Change in IPv6 Traffic by IPv6 Protocol (Data Source: Sandvine Network Demographics)
Figure 3 - Change in IPv6 Traffic
Inside the Tunnels
While measuring levels of native IPv6 and transitional protocols is interesting, it is by no means the complete picture.
The transitional protocols are used to encapsulate IPv6 traffic within IPv4 packets. However, knowing only that a
particular traffic flow is Teredo or native IPv6, for instance, still does not tell us what the flow is actually used for.
By peering within the tunnel or within the IPv6 flow, we are able to find out what applications are using the IPv6
transitional protocols.
On an average day, the vast majority of IPv6 traffic is Peer-to-Peer Filesharing traffic. In fact, in the two days leading
up to World IPv6 Day, this category accounted for roughly 97% of IPv6 traffic. Real-Time Entertainment represented
slightly more than 2%, while Web Browsing made up roughly half a percent. Did the profile of IPv6 traffic change during
the test flight?
Table 2 shows the top categories as measured by downstream traffic averaged over the 24 hours of the event. Our
measurements indicated that the overall increase in IPv6 traffic levels was almost entirely attributable to Real-Time
Entertainment and Web Browsing. Real-Time Entertainment rose to account for more than 6% of IPv6 traffic during
the test run, largely as a result of YouTube’s participation. Web Browsing came to represent 1.33% of IPv6 traffic, and
E-mail rose from negligible levels to generate 0.34%.
It is clear that the participation of Internet giants like Google and Facebook had a measurable impact on the profile of
IPv6 traffic - while it is true that P2P Filesharing continued to be the dominant category, IPv6 Day demonstrated that
widespread support for IPv6 from the web’s major players is a key requirement in driving subscriber adoption.
Share of IPv6 Traffic
P2P Filesharing
Real-Time Entertainment
Web Browsing
All Others
Table 1 - Share of Downstream IPv6 Traffic by Application Category (Data Source: Sandvine Network Demographics)
A number of the world’s largest and most popular Internet sites participated in the study, but which represented
the most IPv6 traffic? It turns out that the protocol being used significantly impacted the IPv6 usage of a particular
For instance, was the top domain for devices using Native IPv6, accounting for 78.01% of total bytes.
Facebook represented 5.98%, while YouTube rounded out the top three with 4.01%.
Figure 4 - Top Domains (by HTTP bytes) for Native IPv6 (Source: Sandvine Network Demographics)
However, devices using Teredo showed a different top domain profile, with YouTube representing almost 98% of total
Figure 5 - Top Domains (by HTTP bytes) for Teredo (Source: Sandvine Network Demographics)
Since Teredo represents the bulk of IPv6 traffic, Figure 3 shows that YouTube accounted for the majority of IPv6 web
(HTTP) traffic.
To subscribers, what matters most is quality. In quality terms, how does IPv6 stack up? To help answer this question,
we measured the access round-trip time (aRTT) for each protocol. Measuring access round-trip time tracks only the
latency through the access network, so it subtracts out all the server and Internet transit time.
Figure 6 shows the aRTT in milliseconds for the subscribers, by type of protocol, over the full duration of World
IPv6 day. One can see that the native IPv6 cumulative distribution curve rises most steeply, indicating that 60% of
subscribers using native IPv6 experienced an aRTT of less than 12ms. In comparison, approximately 48% of native IPv4
users experienced that level.
As expected, protocols using IPv6 via tunnels, (for instance, Teredo), had higher latencies than those using native
IPv6; this difference is primarily due to the impact of relays and Network Address Translators (NATs) like home routers.
Interestingly, the population of subscribers using native IPv6 had a lower latency (and thus better experience) than
those using IPv4. There are several potential explanations; this effect might be due to NAT in the home, to people
using IPv4 over WiFi and IPv6 directly, or differences in the TCP stack.
Figure 6 – Subscriber access Round-Trip Time (in ms) (Data Source: Sandvine Network Demographics)
World IPv6 Day served as an opportunity to conduct a global trial run of the IPv6 protocol and for the world to take a
giant step in the transition away from IPv4. While most consider the event to be successful, IPv6 downstream traffic
and connections still remained relatively low in comparison to IPv4. IPv6 offers a great number of technical advantages
over IPv4, but for consumers it is an improved quality of experience that will be noticed the most. While we fully
expect this transition to happen, it won’t be overnight, and will require careful network planning and infrastructure
migration in order to facilitate a widespread adoption of IPv6.

Sandvine Incorporated ULC
Waterloo, Ontario Canada

Phone: +1 519 880 2600

European Offices

Sandvine Limited
Basingstoke, UK

Phone: +44 (0) 1256 698021

Copyright ©
Incorporated ULC. Sandvine and
the Sandvine logo are registered
trademarks of Sandvine Incorporated
ULC. All rights reserved.
Revision: 2011-06-13
Explanation of Categories
The table below describes each of the categories used in the
Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight: World IPv6 Day
Example Applications and Protocols
Protocols that mask or obfuscate
application or individual identity
Tor (The Onion Router)
Bulk Entertainment
Entertainment that is acquired in bulk
then consumed sometime after arrival
iTunes, movie download services
Bulk Transfers
Large data transfers using the File
Transfer Protocol or its derivatives
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
Service-provider and webmail e-mail
SMTP, POP3, webmail (Hotmail, Gmail,
etc), BlackBerry encrypted e-mail
Encapsulation Tunnelling
Tunnels used for wrapping traffic
L2TP, GRE, Teredo, 6 to 4
Console and PC gaming, console
download traffic, game updates
Nintendo Wii, Xbox Live, Playstation 2,
Playstation 3, PC games (for example,
World of Warcraft)
Network Administration
Protocols and services used to
administer the network
News Groups
Network news services (where “news”
means “data” – it doesn’t have to be
actual news
NNTP, encrypted NNTP (over SSL)
P2P Filesharing
File-sharing applications that use a
peer-to-peer distribution model
BitTorrent, eDonkey, Gnutella, Ares,
Winny, Share, Foxy, Pando
Real-Time Communications
Applications and protocols that allow
interactive chat, voice, and video
Skype, MSN Messenger, ICQ, SIP, MGCP,
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), IRC,
Oovoo, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, MGCP,
Real-Time Entertainment
Applications and protocols that allow
“on-demand” entertainment that
is consumed (viewed or heard) as it
Streamed or buffered audio and video
(RTSP, RTP, RTMP, Flash), peercasting
(PPStream, Octoshape), placeshifting
(Slingbox, home media servers), specific
streaming sites and services (Netflix,
NCAA, Hulu, YouTube, Google Video,
Spotify, BBC iPlayer)
Remote Connectivity
Protocols and services that allow
remote access to network resources
Remote Desktop, VNC, PC Anywhere
Secure Tunnelling
Encrypted tunnels typically used for
Virtual Private Networks and secure
web transactions
Social Networking
Websites and services focused
on enabling interaction (chat,
communication) and information
sharing (photos, status, etc) between
Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Habbo,
Software Updates
Application updates for software,
firmware, and operating systems
Windows Update, anti-virus updates
Storage and Back-Up Services
Services that provide file-hosting,
network back-up, and one-click
PDBox, Netfolder, Rapidshare,
MegaUpload, Mozy, zShare, Carbonite,
Web Browsing
Web protocols and specific websites
HTTP, WAP browsing