SOURCE: Arbor Networks

August 18, 2008 09:00 ET

Arbor Networks Publishes Largest Study to Date on IPv6 Traffic on the Internet

-- 90+ network services and content provider networks

-- Covering over 2,000 routers and nearly 300,000 interfaces

-- 4 Tbps of inter-domain Internet traffic

LEXINGTON, MA--(Marketwire - August 18, 2008) - Arbor Networks, in partnership with more than ninety network services and content providers from around the world, today published the largest study to date of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) traffic on the Internet. IPv6 is intended to be the next primary communications protocol for packet-switched inter-networks. The transition to IPv6 is considered important primarily because current projections indicate that there will be no more IPv4 addresses available within the next few years. The results of a year-long research project provide, for the first time, a global perspective on the amount of IPv6 traffic on the Internet.

"It is now clear the original optimistic IPv6 deployment plans have failed. However, the eventual exhaustion of IPv4 allocations is very real and IPv6 adoption will happen. Based on our analysis, at the current rate of adoption, we are a decade or more away from pervasive adoption of dual stack support for IPv6," said Craig Labovitz, Arbor Networks chief scientist. "With that said, throughout the world, government mandates are spurring IPv6 adoption. For example, in the U.S. a federal mandate was met and all major vendors publicly declared their IPv6 readiness. The Beijing Olympics are being highlighted as the first global showcase for IPv6 technology by China's government. Despite the slow start, there's reason for optimism."

For this study, Arbor collaborated with 91 ISP customers representing a broad cross section of global tier-1 IP network service providers and regional tier 2 ISPs, as well as large content providers, hosting companies and broadband access providers. Arbor collected anonymized data that covered 2,393 peering and backbone routers, 278,797 customer and peering interfaces and was seeing 4 Tbps of inter-domain Internet traffic, making this the largest and most comprehensive study of IPv6 traffic to date.

Traffic data was collected via flow export from peering, aggregation, and customer-facing routers at each participating network by commercial flow measurement appliances, and by in-line or offramped deep packet inspection (DPI) devices deployed at key points in the network. This report focuses only on IPv6 traffic that is tunneled over IPv4 using IP protocol 41, which is universally reported by the monitored routers.

Key Findings

Arbor observed steady growth in the amount of IPv6 traffic across its one-year analysis, from roughly 50 mbps during the early fall of 2007 to approaching a peak of 150 mbps during the summer of 2008. More precisely, there was a 113% increase in the mean inter-domain IPv6 traffic observed during the first quarter of the study and the final quarter of the study. Based on our measurements, Arbor observed that

--  The amount of aggregate inter-domain IPv6 Internet traffic appears to
    be increasing.
--  IPv6 traffic is still a tiny percentage of overall Internet traffic.
    By one conservative estimate, by the end of July 2008, there was about 600
    Mbps of inter-domain IPv6 traffic compared to 4 Tbps of IPv4 traffic. In
    other words, tunneled IPv6 traffic represented only 0.0026% of overall IPv4
    traffic.
--  The proportion of IPv6 vs. IPv4 traffic stayed roughly the same over
    the last year.
    

"We have worked with Arbor Networks on a number of initiatives and they offer ISPs the opportunity to come together in a way that fosters collaboration as well as a better understanding of industry challenges," said John Hayduk, chief technology officer for Tata Communications. "IPv6 represents the future of the Internet, and adoption of this protocol will continue to increase. We look forward to working with the ISP community and our customers to ensure a smooth transition."

Arbor has become a trusted partner of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) community, developing numerous, innovative industry initiatives which require cross-provider collaboration and sharing of anonymized data. To date, Arbor has successfully launched the Fingerprint Sharing Alliance, a first-of-its-kind industry initiative aimed at helping network operators share Internet attack information automatically; Arbor's annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report; and ATLAS, the world's first globally scoped threat analysis network -- which uses technology embedded in the world's largest ISP networks to sense and report on comprehensive worldwide threat intelligence.

"There has been much said and written about IPv6 and the challenges service providers face with this inevitable transition," said Scott Iekel-Johnson, Arbor Networks engineering manager who helped author the report. "The question Arbor has been trying to answer in conjunction with our service provider customers is, how much IPv6 traffic is on the Internet. It has been very gratifying to have so much support and cooperation from the global ISP community."

To download the full report visit:

http://www.arbornetworks.com/IPv6research

To read a blog post on the report by Arbor's Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Labovitz visit:

http://asert.arbornetworks.com/IPv6

About Arbor Networks

Arbor Networks is a leading provider of security and network management solutions for global business networks, including more than 70 percent of the world's Internet service providers and many of the largest enterprise networks in use today. Arbor delivers secure service control solutions that both protect global networks from the edge to the core from a host of threats, as well as help customers gain network-wide visibility they can translate into actionable business intelligence to generate new forms of revenue and maintain a competitive advantage. Arbor's solutions give customers a single, unified view into their networks' performance, helping them to quickly detect anomalous behavior, mitigate threats and enforce policy. Arbor also maintains the world's first globally scoped threat analysis network -- ATLAS -- which uses technology embedded in the world's largest ISP networks to sense and report on comprehensive worldwide threat intelligence.

To learn more about Arbor Networks, please visit: http://www.arbornetworks.com. To learn more about ATLAS, please visit: http://atlas.arbor.net. To learn more about the Arbor Security Engineering & Response Team (ASERT) -- the company's security research arm -- please visit the ASERT blog: http://asert.arbornetworks.com.

Note to Editors: Arbor Networks, ATLAS and the Arbor Networks logo are trademarks of Arbor Networks, Inc.