Paul Saab of Facebook kicked off the day by sharing some insights into IPv6 around the world — starting with the challenge of the IPv6-based Wi-Fi for the Networking @Scale conference itself! Shortly before Networking @Scale, we wanted to run the Wi-Fi exactly how mobile networks in the very near future will be run, a pure IPv6 network with NAT64 and DNS64 to reach the IPv4 internet. As projects often go, we were running short on time, and the day before, it was proposed that maybe we defer the IPv6 Wi-Fi until next year. We paused a moment and realized, “Wait, if we don’t do it this year, then we’ll be doing exactly the same thing that so many have done for IPv6 in general: push it off!” So the corporate networking team jumped into the problem and several of us marked out the old IPv4 SSID/password from the badges with a Sharpie and printed out placards with the IPv6 info. For us, this story represents our experiences with IPv6: Done is better than perfect, so just get started on it.
Our IPv6 Wi-Fi revealed that attendees did not have any issues accessing the internet but some had problems with company VPN gateways that did not work with networks that rely on NAT64 and DNS64 to reach IPv4 only endpoints. Our hope is that the networking-savvy attendees go back to their companies and not only push for IPv6 but also insist that applications also work on IPv6-only networks, since that is the future of mobile networking.
Paul also shared the rapid increases some providers are seeing around the world, especially in mobile devices — sometimes 10x increases in the number of IPv6 devices in a matter of months. On the other side of the supply-demand equation, we see that content providers themselves are still not moving as fast with IPv6 support. This disparity — where content lives in IPv4, but people are accessing the network via IPv6 — shows us that people are not taking advantage of the observed better performance on IPv6, and content providers aren’t taking advantage of the flexibility and scalability that IPv6 provides. The move to IPv6 is no longer about IPv4 address exhaustion; it’s about providing better networking and innovative services to our customers.