ETSI White Paper and webinar map the way forward with IPv6

Sophia Antipolis, 21 September

An ETSI webinar has examined the global status of IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) with discussions on deployment, industrial applications, transition solutions and progress on standardization.

Attracting over 160 participants from standards organizations, operators, vendors, governments, universities and research institutions, the webinar introduced the newly-launched ETSI White Paper ‘IPv6 Best Practices, Benefits, Transition Challenges and the Way Forward’.

Latif Ladid, Chair of ETSI ISG IP6 (Industry Specification Group IPv6), illustrated the step-change to IPv6 with a provocative metaphor: “When you are on IPv4, you’re flying in economy class. If you are on IPv6 you are in business class…and with the new functions enabled by SRv6 (Segment Routing over the IPv6 data plane) you upgrade to first class.

The capacity, efficiency and security of IPv6 are key enablers for the industrial IoT (Internet of Things), with wireless M2M (machine-to-machine) communications replacing thousands or millions of cabled connections in a factory or industrial facility. “If you have less than a hundred devices that’s fine” argued Pascal Thubert, Principal Engineer, Cisco. “But if you want to scale to IoT with loads of sensors in every robot, that’s when IPv6 comes into play.

Eduard Metz, network architect at KPN, outlined the various options for mainstream transition from IPv4 to IPv6 for fixed and mobile broadband operators: “Selecting the right solution is quite important as you want to move forward. In the White Paper, two stages have been defined that could help you pick the right solution for transition from IPv4 to IPv6. The first stage is IPv6 introduction, and the second stage is IPv6 only.

Chongfeng Xie, Senior Researcher with China Telecom, discussed future migration in the context of IPv6’s rapidly increasing adoption in China: “IPv4 will gradually be considered as a service of the IPv4 network, while new services such as IoT, V2X and industrial networks will likely be IPv6 only. Enhanced innovation in IPv6 will make the network more programmable by introducing SID (Segment Routing Identifier) functions in the equipment of networks and the cloud.

A further operator’s perspective on IPv6 innovation and commercial trials with other technology partners was offered by Carlos Ralli Ucendo, Head of Multinationals Partnership Office at Telefonica. “The future is already here. In 2020 IPv6 is a market reality, not a technical discussion anymore. It has been massively rolled out, and this enables new ways of designing services and ecosystems. Moreover, we should invest efforts to bring large non-IT companies – such as banking and financial institutions – into the loop.

An update on the SRv6 ecosystem, industry progress and opportunities for innovation was presented by Clarence Filsfils, Cisco Fellow: “SRv6 allows huge simplification and enables IPv6 to be self-sufficient. It also provides ultra-scale and end-to-end policy with IP summarization, stateless network programming and native compression supporting a complete handset-to-server solution.

Sebastien Lourdez, network architect at POST Luxembourg, gave an overview of SRv6 use cases. ”With SRv6, operators no longer need MPLS, RSVP or LDP, and can get powerful service chaining feature, extendable protocol defined as needed, and the traffic engineering for establishing paths based on constrains such as IGP costs, real bandwidth consumption and latency.

"IPv6 future research and standard planning can be generally divided into three phases, the SRv6 basic capabilities, the new network services for 5G and Cloud, and app-aware network architecture. We are happy to see that the standardization progress for phase one is well on track today." adds Robin Li, IETF IAB (Internet Architecture Board) Member from Huawei, mentioned this in the topic of "The Way Forward of IPv6".

Today over 1.2 billion netizens are using IPv6 without even knowing it. In the era of 5G and the cloud, the number of nodes connected to the Internet is anticipated to exceed 100 billion. IP networks continue to scale rapidly as network services become more diversified than ever. IPv6 provides a tremendous number of IP addresses and greater options for IP packet forwarding, creating new opportunities to provide improved network services.

To learn more about IPv6 read the new ETSI White Paper on our website “IPv6 Best Practices, Benefits, Transition Challenges and the Way Forward”, or listen to the recorded ETSI webinar.