IPv6 Experiment – The Conclusion…

It’s a months since I have started my IPv6 only experiment and it is time to draw some conclusions as promised.
For those short on time I will put the concluding sentence first.

You definitely can learn to live IPv6+NAT64 today, and this is probably the most important result of this test.

Lets elaborate.
I have been testing IPv6+NAT64 on both a PC and a mobile phone.

Mobile Phone:
Most things I do on my mobile phone is browse internet, check mail and watch YouTube. None of this task had any problem. Actually, the experience of using the mobile phone with such a setup and usage profile has been proven flawless. I suppose my usage patter matches the usage patterns of 70%-80% of the mobile users. I do not have any user surveys to prove that, however, I have some visibility in the traffic/protocols usage and it is indeed inclined more towards HTTP.

I believe, mobile networks today, are the ideal, and Nr. 1 candidates for IPv6 only deployments! However, the main issue still remains the support of IPv6 in CPEs. The handset market is extremely heterogeneous, meaning that IPv6 service will be available to new user only. This will last until the last mobile phone that does not support IPv6 will vanish. This can last for a decade, easily.

Personal Computer:
PC is a different beast. Things one does on the PC are limitless, this is why it is definitely hard to estimate the full impact of switching off IPv4.
I am, as was the case with the mobile handsets, an average PC user. Most things I do on my personal computer are web browsing , IM, file download, SSH and Telnet (a little bit out of the average).
I rarely have to use a business applications or management system that relies heavily on the network at home.

Browsing is good, really good. I had no issues at all for an entire month.
Instant messengers are dead. None of the existing IM applications would work in a IPv6+NAT64 environment. I have found a fix for it; using GTalk, Yahoo and ICQ in the browser based on a Meebo plugin for Firefox. This proved to be a feasible substitute. Skype however, is still not working and is a major deal breaker.
Multiplayer gaming does not work either. You can’t really do anything about it.

P2P does not work at all in a IPv6 only setup, but, looks like Windows 7 users with 6to4 report the appearance of 1-2 IPv6 pears on the most popular torrents. This definitely points to the fact, that IPv6 is going slowly mainstream.

As long as you are living around web browsing, you probably would be fine with such a setup. Still when it comes to the PC, compared to the mobile deployment, the dual stack or any kind of IPv4 over IPv6 tunneling is still the only way, even if we have to use private IPv4s and public IPv6 on the interfaces.
Until all popular IMs are fixed to work with IPv6, the games are rewritten, and all major applications are protocol agnostic, there is absolutely no way to take the IPv6 only route.

For the network operators, there is really no other way around. IPv6 should be deployed, tested, corrected and tested again. When at least 20%-30% of the operators offering internet access will offer IPv6 service, the feasibility of an IPv6 only setup would be definitely a different story.


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