North American Network Operators Group

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RE: When IPv6 ... if ever?

  • From: smd
  • Date: Sun Sep 10 09:40:34 2000

| The bottom-line appears that everyone is waiting for everyone else to
| twitch first, then the shoot-out starts. However, no one is all that
| interested in twitching.

Also, nobody is willing to get shot!

The deployment of IPv6 is going to be EXPENSIVE in terms of real opex
and probably real capex as well, it IS going to be visible on the bottom
line of every ISP on the planet, eroding whatever margins one has.

I can't see the deployment of IPv6 *ever* leading to any but the
shortest-term revenue upside (if even that), therefore until the
entire aggregate gross revenue of transit-providing ISPs up and
down the entire food-chain is threatened, nobody will be deploying v6.

The only alternative scenario I can think of is the deployment
of IPv6 by a large provider who believes it can trigger a huge
consolidation by pushing smaller ISPs it is competing with into an
expensive deployment through sheer hype.

I am inclined to believe that the second thinking is the REAL reason
behind the recent announcements by a monopolistic and internationally 
expanding ISP in Asia that they will do an aggressive IPv6 deployment.

| The real question is whom is benefiting from sustaining the current
| situation?

Everyone who wants cheap, sustainable Internet transit, with the
continuation of plummeting prices combined with soaring available
bandwidths.   Introducing a whole new protocol requiring massive global
operational changes is going to push up consumer prices and stall
on investment in available bandwidths.  There are only so many people
and dollars out there, and one or the other is inevitably spread
pretty thin in the current market.

The scariest thing to an IPv6-Lover is that an early deployment is
not to anyone's advantage because untili there is real uptake by
a sizable number of ISPs, the exact changes required on the dynamic
routing side are simply not obvious, although the fact that the two
protocols will run ships in the night is (e.g.
works just fine with IPv6 but you see a blackhole with IPv4.'s IPv6 path is much slower and lossier from where 
your customer is than's IPv4 path.  have fun finding
and fixing the square of the number of problems you observe now, kids!)

In other words, it's all risk and absolutely no reward, and until
it really honestly IS impossible to do hacks around the IPv4 shortage,
nobody will deploy IPv6.

Now, ironically, in the whole IPv6 selection process in the IETF,
there were multiple proposals which paid a considerable amount of
attention to the problems of partial, incremental deployment at
the initial design level.  CATNIP in particular was clever, because
it provided not just a new packet format (which is all IPv6 did), but
also a strategy to transition to practically ANY new packet format,
should the initial assumptions about the pervasiveness of IPX and CLNP
be wrong (which they were).

IPv6's initial assumptions are WRONG (we will die from routing dynamicism
long before we die of IPv4 address depletion), and there is NO mechanism
whatsoever to abandon the IPv6 packet format even at the primitive level
of curiosity-based microdeployment we see now.

Who will take the chance of a huge investment in managing IPv6 deployment,
when it is not a given that IPv6 really will be the header networks will
use after IPv4?   We're talking about stranded assets being the only thing
one gets for the money...