What is the current state of application support for IPv6? What are challenges for applications migrating to IPv6, particularly for enterprise applications? What am I doing at the Internet Society with projects such as Open Standards Everywhere to promote IPv6?
I had the fun of being interviewed by Scott Hogg and Tom Coffeen on their IPv6 Buzz Podcast episode 53 to talk about all of this and more. You can listen here:
Thanks to Scott and Tom, as well as their other host Ed Horley, for having me on the show to geek out about IPv6. Please do give the show a listen – and send along any questions you may have. Thanks!
With the changes to the book and my plans to develop a Second Edition, I also want to change the toolchain I’m using. When I wrote the book for O’Reilly back in 2011, I used DocBook XML as the source. However, these days I’m typically working in Markdown or another lightweight text markup format. So step one for the Second Edition is to migrate the DocBook XML into another format.
My current thinking is to use AsciiDoc, as it has support for footnotes and admonitions (ex. “Warning”), neither of which are supported in most Markdown variants. I’m still working through some plans, but hope to have the book converted over in the next few weeks. (I would welcome feedback on other text formats.)
I’m planning to make the book text available in a GitHub repository so that others can see the text and perhaps offer comments and feedback. If you would like to be notified when I do that, please sign up on my email list.
Yesterday (Sept 28, 2019) at Vermont CodeCamp 11 in Burlington, VT, I gave a talk titled “Yes, IPv6 is Real! How To Make Your Apps Work (And Be As Fast As Possible) ” with the abstract:
How well do your applications or websites work over IPv6? As the world runs out of IPv4 addresses, new mobile networks are being deployed as “IPv6-only” with IPv6-to-IPv4 gateways at the edge of those networks. The result is that apps and sites that work natively over IPv6 will be faster for users than apps and sites stuck on only IPv4. Many leading services have already made this transition, and Apple now requires IPv6 for all apps in their AppStore. In this session, you’ll learn about tips and tools to successfully migrate your applications and sites to work over both IPv4 and IPv6.
It was an enjoyable session with a good number of questions from the participants. The slides are available on SlideShare at:
Thank you to the VT Code Camp organizers for accepting my proposal to speak – and for all the participants in the session for the attention and questions. I hope I helped some of them understand a bit more of why they should make sure their apps work over IPv6 – and how to get started!
P.S. If you’d like someone to speak on this topic at a conference or event you are organizing, please do contact me.
There has been a big change with the book. About a year ago I approached my editor at O’Reilly about creating a second edition of the book. It turned out that because the book hadn’t really ever sold well (more on that below), they were no longer interested in carrying the book. They were, however, willing to revert the copyright and all content to me (except for the cover art and their branding, of course). This was actually fine by me and so we parted amicably.
I am immensely grateful to O’Reilly for publishing the first edition of this book! As people who have read the book know, the book emerged out of a proposal to speak at the OSCON 2011 conference. I thank the whole team at O’Reilly for all their help in making this book happen.
I’m now planning a Second Edition of the book, with the plan to simply self-publish through one of the various publishing platforms (most likely Amazon, but we’ll see). The goal will be to publish sometime in 2020.
I am also planning to make all of the content freely available in a git repository. It won’t be on Github, because that site only works over IPv4. I’m looking into several Gitlab installations that do work over IPv6.
Along the way I’ll be converting the text from DocBook XML to Markdown, updating a good number of the links, and making a number of other changes.
I am very excited about this change. One of the issues I had with the First Edition (and the major critique in any reviews) was that the book was priced at $24.99. This was not MY choice. In a traditional publishing relationship, the publisher sets the price. The author has no control over this. I always felt this was too high for the small size of the book. Now, I can set a more appropriate price. I can also make the content available for free, as I mentioned above.
With some impending changes related to the book, I am cleaning up the site to remove some of the older information. For example, I am removing blog posts related to old sales from many years ago. The one down side to this is that links in old social media posts may not all work. However, an archive of the site is available:
In the 5 years since World IPv6 Launch, IPv6 deployment has grown over 3,000 percent! Now there are over 37 countries with more than 5% deployment of IPv6. In the USA, where I live, IPv6 deployment is up over 30% … sometimes close to 35%.
A key point in the document is that enterprise networks are often the ones lagging farthest behind in deployment of IPv6. Mobile networks are far ahead in many locations, and residential broadband networks are also often very far behind.
One reasons some enterprises struggle is that they have custom applications that need to be migrated to work on IPv6. That was really the reason why I originally wrote this very short book back in 2011 – to help developers understand what they need to be thinking about to move their apps over to work on IPv6.
If you are trying to get your management or others in your organization to move ahead with IPv6, download this State of IPv6 Deployment 2017 report and send it around – or send the link around. Hopefully the information inside can help you make the case that the time to move to IPv6 is NOW.
This month the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) provided another reason for organizations to think more about migrating their applications and services to IPv6. In a strong statement, the IAB warned other standards development organizations (SDOs) that future standards from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) may no longer support IPv4:
The IAB expects that the IETF will stop requiring IPv4 compatibility in new or extended protocols. Future IETF protocol work will then optimize for and depend on IPv6.
This will not happen immediately, of course, but the IAB statement notes that levels of IPv6 deployment are increasing and that SDOs need to ensure that current and future standards can work in an IPv6-only environment.
The key point for organizations and companies with applications is that you need to be seriously thinking about ensuring that your apps can work in IPv6-only networks.
If you read the notes on the bottom of the measurements page you can see that Google, Facebook, Akamai, LinkedIn and Yahoo! are all measuring the amount of the amount of IPv6 they are seeing to their sites and reporting that back to the World IPv6 Launch project.
The key point for application developers is that all those people on those networks will be able to natively connect over IPv6 – ifyour application works over IPv6.
And a reason for caring may be… speed!
If a network is deployed with IPv6 in the main network, as I understand T-Mobile USA has now done, then connections from IPv6 clients can do directly to IPv6 servers. But connections to legacy IPv4 services will need to go through a gateway. Gateways typically introduce some degree of latency / delay, even at a microscopic level.
If your application works with IPv6 then you won’t need to worry about any v6/v4 gateways with any potential delays.
The reality that these measurements show is that IPv6 is very real today – will your app work over IPv6?