2013: leveling-off in IPv6 deployment?

November 2013


Progression of web servers, stagnation of DNS servers and email


Afnic’s R&D department produces a monthly study of the deployment of IPv6 in the .fr namespace. Implemented using the DNSwitness software platform (developed by Afnic and available free of charge under a GPL license), the study checks the proportion of domain names in the zone with DNS, e-mail or web servers that have an IPv6 address for the servers in question.

The measurements made since 2011 by Afnic show that 2012/2013 was a year of slow growth in the deployment of IPv6 in relation to the dynamic expansion recorded for the 2011/2012 period.

Fig. 1 shows that the percentage of .fr domain names that have at least one DNS server addressed in IPv6 rose from 40% to 60% in 2011/2012, by only slightly increased in 2012/2013. Web servers recorded the best performance, but they are nevertheless well behind the mail servers (10.75%) with 7.38%.



A study of the change in this percentage over time has shown that it increases in steps, when the main hosts decide to configure their DNS servers with IPv6 (as was the case in October 2010, February 2011 and May 2012). The relative stagnation of the phenomenon suggests that no major host integrated IPv6 in its services in 2012/2013, unlike some small- to medium-scale hosts (hence the increase in the number of IPv6 web servers).


Leveling-off in 2013


 IPv6 deployment appears to have leveled off in 2012/2013, although the percentage of IPv6 queries measured by Afnic probes (*) shows real progress in the routing used to convey the queries between resolvers and authoritative servers (rising from 6.76% in 2012 to 12.6% in 2013). This rise reflects the increasing number of upgrades of their resolvers by ISPs.


The change in the ratio, however, between the number of "AAAA" queries (IPv6) and the number of "A" queries (IPv4) highlights an observable leveling-off in the number since the end of 2012 after a sudden increase between July and November 2012 (Cf. Fig. 2).



The progress of IPv6 may be limited by the "inertia" of IPv4 servers combined with the existence of a stock of IPv4 addresses that will not be "diluted" by the influx of IPv6 addresses for a long time. Although effective for more than a year, the shortage of IPv4 addresses does not appear to have been as great a stimulus in 2013 as the operators may have hoped. This finding, however, is liable to be reversed in the medium to long term, when constantly developing uses will require new resources for addressing.


 (*) Incoming traffic on authoritative servers for the .fr namespace. These servers receive queries concerning .fr domain names from resolver servers, most of which are managed by ISPs.





The monthly analysis carried out by Afnic consists in extracting a sample of 10% from the .fr namespace, and then determining which names in the sample have NS records (name server) and which have MX records (e-mail server). The program then searches for any IPv4 addresses (A records) and IPv6 addresses (AAAA records) associated with these DNS and e-mail servers, and any web server whose domain name is preceded by "www." or "www.ipv6.". Finally, for each of the DNS, email and web servers, the percentage of domain names with an IPv6 address for this service is obtained, including all the domains that have such a service under IPv4 or IPv6.

 The DNS traffic is observed by means of probes placed on the local network of the target name server as well as by other probes installed at some instances of the d.nic.fr that is anycasted.


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