Deploy360 Internet of Things (IoT) IPv6

RIPE 72 – Highlights from Day 2

RIPE 72The RIPE 72 meeting is happening this week in Copenhagen, Denmark, and we’re highlighting the presentations and activities related to the Deploy360 technologies throughout the week.

Tuesday was all plenary sessions, but to kick-off we must highlight the presentation on the Internet of Things: What is the problem? by Shane Kerr (Beijing Internet Institute). The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to be radically different to other technological developments on the Internet, and in particular the question needs to be answered about whether the Internet can be scaled to accommodate an exponential increase in the number of connected devices. Whilst the IPv6 address space should be sufficient for this and the DNS is hierarchical by design and has proved scalable so far, routing protocols are not designed in this way and potentially suffer from the problem of maintaining a large number of routes.

The big challenges with IoT though, are development of proprietary protocols, the unattended nature of devices, and the problems of built-in obsolescence. Consumers not only expect day-to-day appliances to be cheap, but also to be able to use them for many years. However, once a vendor sells a consumer product, then there’s very little incentive to maintain that product for very long given the low selling price. This can create significant problems if software is not being updated in response to security issues that are discovered.

One solution might be to have standardised open source operating systems for such devices, but again what is the economic incentive for vendors to move in this direction? It may therefore require industry agreement or regulatory intervention to ensure ongoing maintenance programmes, even assuming users are sufficiently trusting of IoT devices to replace their existing non-connected devices that may have already served them for many years. So whilst there’s an assumption that IoT is a substantial business opportunity, existing economic models do not currently fit well with vendor and consumer expectations and will require a rethink of standards and how products are supported in the long term.

Next up was the presentation on IPv6 @ Comcast by John Jason Brzozowski (Comcast). Comcast has been one of the leading ISPs for IPv6 deployment, with their IPv6 programme having started back in 2005. As of 2016, 98% of their devices are now managed using IPv6 only and is expected to reach 100% in the near future, whilst 25% of their Internet facing communication is using IPv6.

This demonstrates that it is possible to deploy native IPv6 without transitional technologies, and nearly 60% of Comcast traffic is now IPv6. The key has been to incrementally move particular segments of the network and services to IPv6, whilst having well formed plans in place to identify and fix issues as they’re encountered.

Last but not least are some interesting measurements from Vaibhav Bajpai (Jacobs University Bremen) on how websites compare on dual-stacked hosts. The Alexa top 100 websites supporting IPv4 and IPv6 were interrogated using simweb that compares the different results returned using each protocol.

The measurements showed that 27% of the websites showed some missing elements when using IPv6, 9% exhibited a greater than 50% failure rate using IPv6, whilst 6% failed completely. The failing elements tended to be attributable to DNS resolution errors on images, Javascript and Cascading Style Sheets, and often occurred on pages underneath the web root, so this is something that system administrators need to pay additional attention to.

For those of you who cannot attend the RIPE meeting in person, remote participation is available with audio and video streaming and also a jabber chat room.

The full programme can be found at