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Deploy360 8 March 2017

NAT64check & More IPv6 @ APRICOT 2017

Some of the Deploy360 team were presenting at APRICOT 2017 last week, and there were other interesting presentations that are worth highlighting. Whilst we’ll cover the dedicated session on IPv6 deployment in this post, we’ll also do a round-up of some of the other IPv6-relevant presentations and tutorials in subsequent posts.

Our colleague Jan Žorž had been asked to chair the APNIC Executive Committee election process, so it meant a mad dash from there to open the IPv6 deployment session with his presentation on the NAT64/DNS64 testing being undertaken by the Go6lab. This debuted at AfriNIC-25 towards the end of last year, but NAT64check has already proved to be an extremely useful tool.

As many mobile operators are moving to IPv6 only which is incompatible with IPv4 on the wire, it’s necessary to employ transition mechanisms such as 464XLAT or NAT64. The NAT64check testbed was therefore developed by Go6lab and SJM Steffann with support from the Internet Society so that operators, service providers, and hardware and software vendors can see how their networks and systems work in these environments.

When using NAT64 there are many things that need to be checked to ensure they work correctly, so NAT64check was developed so that websites can be checked for consistency over IPv4, IPv6-only and NAT64, as well to compare responsiveness using the different protocols. This allows network and system administrators to easily identify anything is ‘broken’ and to pinpoint where the problems are occurring, thus allowing any non-IPv6 compatible elements on the website to be fixed.

If you go to the NAT64check website, you can find a list of which websites that users have checked, and how they display using the different protocols. The tool does a comparison of the images returned, and attempts to identify any broken elements, along with providing information on the responsiveness of the respective connections. And one interesting observation that seems to backup those by APNIC Labs, is that IPv6 connections are typically more responsive if they can be established in the first place. Further evidence that IPv6 does not result in a degraded experience if set-up correctly.

This was followed by a presentation from Abdul Awal (BDREN) on IPv6 deployment in BDREN, the Bangladesh National Research and Education Network, as well as the wider challenges of deploying IPv6 in Bangladesh. There is not currently much deployment of IPv6 in the country, and this has not been helped by a lack of support for AAAA glue records in the .bd ccTLD. However, BDREN has been leading the IPv6 deployment efforts having implemented dual-stack in 2016, and is currently promoting IPv6 on its connected campuses. As a result, the websites of some universities and educational institutes are now available via IPv6, and dual-stack has been enabled at one campus.

More generally, some of the ISPs in Bangladesh had enabled IPv6 on their backbones, but are still not providing IPv6 to their end users citing a lack of demand. It needs impetus from another direction, and whilst directives existed from the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the government could help by mandating the use of IPv6 in their e-governance platforms, when procuring IT systems, and by establishing a National IPv6 Task Force to help raise awareness and push deployment of IPv6.

Sami Salih (Al Jouf University) then presented IPv6 developments in Sudan and on SudREN, the national research and education network. Sudan had a national IPv6 migration plan and 26 training workshops involving more than 1,000 participants had been organised between 2011 and 2015, as well the SDv6 Task Force being formed. Twelve /32s have been allocated to Sudan by AfriNIC.

SudREN is also leading the IPv6 deployment initiative and has enabled IPv6 on 50% of the core routers, 10% of the routers of their member institutions, and on 100% of all servers. There is a native IPv6 link to the rest of the Internet via Sudatel, with a backup link via Hurricane Electric. Every member institute has been allocated a /48 with a /4o reserved for future demand, which means that SudREN had now assigned 80% of its two /32 blocks. As a result, more than 25% of SudREN are now IPv6 capable, which compares very favourably to other parts of the world.

Rounding off the session was Dat Nguyen Thanh (FPT Telecom) who provided a commercial perspective on IPv6 deployment at FPT. FPT is one of the major ISPs in Vietnam and Cambodia with over 1.6 million subscribers, and has been rolling out IPv6 in its core network. Over half their subscribers are now IPv6 enabled and total traffic amounted to 477 Gb/s, and their method for rolling out IPv6 on CPEs was discussed in detail.

This is a session worth following, and if you missed it live, it’s available on YouTube to watch.

If this inspires you to transition your networks, devices and applications to IPv6, 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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