The Transition and Deployment of IPv6 in Australia and China

By Vannak Lach

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the future resolution to deal with the long-anticipated problem of the current Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) address exhaustion and intendedly to replace IPv4 in the future. IP is the central protocol in the Internet. Each device connected to the Internet must have a unique IP address to communicate, and routers in the network use the IP destination address in packet headers to forward the packet to the receiver and vice versa.

With a rapid growth of the devices connecting to the network, the current status of IPv4 space is nearly running out. Like many other countries, both Australia and China vastly deploy IPv4, and still lack progress towards IPv6 deployment. If both countries are to be able to fully participate and benefit from the digital economy in the future, they better prepare themselves for the transition and be ready for the IPv6 alternative. Otherwise, they will face a huge challenge in connecting devices across different platforms.

Getting on board with IPv6 will not only prevent countries like Australia and China from being at a competitive disadvantage, but also save operational costs in the near future. As APNIC’s general director Paul Wilson quoted in the iTnews, “Without IPv6, the Australian internet will be less efficient, it will be slower and less reliable, and more expensive — and that would be bad for the country.” Likewise, China is also on the same boat as Australia.

The IPv4 address shortage will become an even bigger issue for both countries as their economies are rapidly moving toward the fourth industrial revolution of which their manufacturing and services are relying heavily on the Internet.

To promote the IPv6 employment and help prepare Australia and China for the transition, APNIC has provided a grant to the School of Engineering and IT at Murdoch University to conduct research on the IPv6 readiness and deployment in all types of industry sectors that use the Internet in both countries. The survey received responses from 198 participants from Australia and 188 participants from China.

The main objective of this research project seeks to gain insights into the motivations of Australian and Chinese organisations for deploying or not deploying IPv6, to identify whether IPv6 deployment is likely to increase in the future, and to determine what are the driving and hindering forces behind the deployment of IPv6 in their economies.

There are a few previous studies on the IPv6 readiness which is relevant to both countries such as a study on the IPv6 readiness of companies in Australia based on a survey in 2011, an RIR community survey on IPv6 Deployment 2012-2013, an IPv6 Industry Survey 2014,  and the most recent IPv6 deployment worldwide survey 2016.

However, most of the data from those studies is a few years old now, and there is small number of participants from Australia and China. While some studies provide a comprehensive analysis on the awareness and urgency of IPv6, none of them provide much insight into the motivation or reason of the companies for deploying or not deploying IPv6 or what the main obstacles are for them to move to IPv6 infrastructure.

In this sense, the focus of the study by Murdoch University is very crucial, particularly for these two countries to plan for the IPv6 transition. The project’s focus is on Australia and China, because both countries currently have low IPv6 deployment, so the study will be very relevant to both countries.

The survey results are available online, structured around the following areas:

We invite you to visit the research team’s website to understand how the survey was organised, and what we have learned through the process.