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IPv6 8 March 2016

IPv6 reaches 10,000 ISPs in Europe and northern Asia

Kevin Meynell
By Kevin MeynellSenior Manager, Technical and Operational Engagement

RIPE_NCC_Logo2015It’s worth pointing out the announcement from the RIPE NCC last week, that they reached the milestone of 10,000 Local Internet Registries (LIRs) having receiving IPv6 addresses. This leaves around 3,000 LIRs that still only have IPv4 addresses, although the uptake of IPv6 addresses has increased substantially since mid-2012.

In the way RIPE NCC is structured, the “LIRs” are the members of the RIPE NCC who receive blocks of IP addresses (both IPv4 and IPv6) and then distribute the IP addresses out to local organizations.  Typically these are Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or “network operators” who then provide Internet connections (and IP address blocks) to companies and organizations.  (Read more about LIRs on the RIPE NCC’s site.)  RIPE NCC is the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Europe and northern / western Asia.

The RIPE NCC started distributing IPv6 addresses in 1999, although uptake was initially slow as LIRs were required make a certain number of assignments to end sites until 2007. Provider Independent IPv6 addresses (i.e. those distributed directly to an end user organisation) were also not assigned until 2009 due to concerns over the (potential) growth of the global routing table, but once these policies changed there was a noticeable increase in IPv6 allocation requests.

In 2012 it became mandatory to have IPv6 resources in order to receive a /22 IPv4 address block which was responsible for the upsurge in LIR uptake. Interestingly though, since this policy was revoked in 2015 because it was felt that LIRs should not be forced to request ‘unneeded’ resources, IPv6 address distribution has remained around the same rate which indicates that LIRs are seeing a need for IPv6 address space.

Current policies make it easy to request IPv6 addresses so this is no obstacle to IPv6 deployment in your organisation. If you’re interested, then please see our Start Here page for more information!

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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