Why IPv6 Adoption Has Taken So Long


The most widely adopted internet protocol is IPv4. While this protocol has allowed for the Internet to grow at an exponential rate, the challenge is that there are a limited number of IPv4 addresses. While a much better option, IPv6, is available, there are many reasons why this protocol has been slow to be adopted.

IPv6 Adoption Varies

IPv6 adoption varies throughout the world. There are some countries that have not adopted IPv6 at all, while other countries have reached over 50%. The extent to which IPv6 has been adopted also varies from company to company. Most Internet service providers (ISP) use IPv6 at least 30% of the time.

In 2016, it was discovered that 10% of the world has adopted IPv6 in total. Ipv6 adoption is the most common in European and North American countries, while it is less common in Africa.

IPv6 Has Taken A Long Time To Be Adopted

IPv6 is not a new protocol. It has actually been around for two decades, but the adoption has been very slow. For the Internet Protocol, the sending system needs to create an IP packet. Then, the routers need to look at the IP packet and send it on its way. The receiving system must have the capability of understanding the IP packet and extract the information that is contained within. Applications on the other end need to be able to look at the IP packet and differentiate between IPv4 and IPv6.

Why IPv6 Is Difficult To Adopt

In order achieve IPv6 adoption, it is necessary to update all of the servers, firewalls, routers, load balancers, and management systems so they can handle IPv6. Therefore, if there is simply one device that does not understand IPv6, this process will be disrupted.

It Isn’t IPv6’s Fault

The good news is that when two systems support both IPv4 and IPv6, but the routers do not, this problem can be resolved by placing IPv6 packets inside IPv4 packets in a process known as tunneling. Also, IPv6 can be translated into IPv4 using NAT64. Therefore, under some circumstances, IPv6 can be backwards compatible. IPv6 is difficult to implement because IPv4 is not forward compatible, not the other way around.

Eventually, IPv6 will become the universal standard for IP protocols. The process has been very slow, but given the current trends, the process will eventually be completed. IPv4 is often viewed as the test version of the Internet Protocol and IPv6 is the final version.