Dedicated IPv6 Monitoring Location Now Available

Dotcom-Monitor now offers a dedicated IPv6 monitoring location, which means that tasks being monitored from this location will not be able to resolve traffic across an IPv4 network, so if the communication cannot travel across an IPv6 compatible network, this location will return a failed monitoring result. Now you can test IPv6 connections specifically from an “IPv6 only” location to ensure that your services are accessible via IPv6 only nodes. This is useful for testing IPv6 specific resolution because there are configurations available on different networking devices that may allow traffic between IPv4 and IPv6 nodes that will not work with IPv6-Only nodes. For example, it is possible that you may have a router on one end of the communication that attempts to send IPv6-Only traffic using a tunneling mechanism to tunnel IPv6 through an IPv4 only network while the router on the other end is not capable of extracting the IPv6 address from the IPv4 tunneled data. Utilizing an IPv6 location also allows you to ensure that any APIs you use are capable of handling IPv6 communications. The IPv6 monitoring location will let you know if your application is not IPv6-aware by triggering an alert when the application is unable to respond.

Monitor Services From an IPv6-Only Location

Dotcom-Monitor now offers a dedicated IPv6 monitoring location, which means that tasks being monitored from this location will not be able to resolve traffic across an IPv4 network, so if the communication cannot travel across an IPv6 compatible network, this location will return a failed monitoring result.

Now you can test IPv6 connections specifically from an “IPv6 only” location to ensure that your services are accessible via IPv6 only nodes.  This is useful for testing IPv6 specific resolution because there are configurations available on different networking devices that may allow traffic between IPv4 and IPv6 nodes that will not work with IPv6-Only nodes.  For example, it is possible that you may have a router on one end of the communication that attempts to send IPv6-Only traffic  using a tunneling mechanism to tunnel IPv6 through an IPv4 only network while the router on the other end is not capable of extracting the IPv6 address from the IPv4 tunneled data.

Utilizing an IPv6 test location also ensures that any APIs you use are capable of handling IPv6 communications.  The IPv6 monitoring location will let you know if your application is not IPv6-aware by triggering an alert when the application is unable to respond.

IPv6 Gaining Traction

Note that IPv6 began gaining traction in 2013 when, according to Google, over one percent of Google users accessed Google using IPv6.  Current statistics report that around 4.5% of Google visitors utilize IPv6.  As of November 2014, Alexa reports that 13.8% of the top 1000 websites were reachable using IPv6.  While these percentages may seem small, they represent large numbers.  In the spring of 2014 Google revealed that they receive 100 billion search queries per month.  4.5% of that would be 4.5 billion searches per month utilizing IPv6.  While that sounds like a small percentage it is still a staggeringly large number, and it continues to increase as more people are connected to the internet.

The Last IPv4 Address Has Been Designated

IPv4 inherently poses a problem for internet access due to the limited address space of  4,294,967,296 (2^32) external addresses available.  On February 3rd 2011, the last available IPv4 address was exhausted, meaning there are no “new” IPv4 addresses available. Historically techniques such as Network Address Translation (NAT) have been used to allow multiple devices to communicate using single IP addresses, but as the “Internet of Things” continues to grow, it is increasingly likely that additional IP addresses will be necessary.

The Internet of Things

As more and more devices gain access to the internet including all of the sensors and components considered part of the Internet of Things (IoT), IPv6 will continue to become more prevalent as the preferred communication protocol.  Although there is no hard deadline for all users to switch over from IPv4 to IPv6, at some point there will be more nodes operating on IPv6 than not, which will make it difficult for users to access target devices without using IPv6.

Projected Use of IPv6

Current estimates place the number of devices connected to the internet somewhere between 8 and 10 billion.  Cisco has estimated that by 2020 that number of connected devices will increase to as many as 50 billion.  These numbers indicate that IPv6 will be a rapidly emerging protocol over the next few years, particularly in emerging markets where a majority of the population is still gaining access to the internet for the first time.

When many emerging markets obtain new technology for the first time they often leapfrog several generations, gaining access to current technology while their counterparts in more developed areas of the world continue to utilize older generations of devices that lack online capabilities.  This phenomenon may lead to even higher numbers of connected devices than expected.

Benefits of IPv6

IPv6 gives users additional capabilities that were previously not available with IPv4, the larger address space being the biggest difference at (2^128) addresses.  With this much larger address set, IPv6 was designed with the original intent of the internet where each device has a distinct global address that is reachable from any other device on the internet.  Because of the transparency involved with each device maintaining a unique ID, privacy extensions have been used by most mainstream operating systems to generate random identifiers to make it more difficult to track individual traffic to a specific user or device.

IPv6 is also more efficient than IPv4 by allowing networks to be aggregated into single prefixes, eliminating the IP-level checksum at every hop, and eliminating the need for network address translation (NAT).

Multicast is another feature of IPv6 that can streamline network communication by allowing multimedia streams to be sent to multiple nodes at once, thus eliminating transmission of large duplicate packets.  The Flow Label component of the IPv6 header also helps multimedia streams such as UDP traffic ensure that the packets will all follow the same path, reducing the risk that packets will be received out of order.

Free Trial of IPv6-Only Location Monitoring

So with all of the changes driving the industry to completely switch over to IPv6 in the near future, sign up for a free trial of the Dotcom-Monitor solutions and run an IPv6 test on your sites and devices to ensure that your network is properly configured and end users can access your systems via IPv6 without issue.

{ photo credit: Abode of Chaoscc }

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