“Shocking” IPv6 revelation in South Africa

Surprising revelation about IPv6 traffic and adoption on local and international networks


Recent web traffic statistics from the University of the Free State reveal that the adoption of IPv6 is far higher than people may think. Well over half of the university’s web traffic was served via IPv6 after its network was dual stacked with IPv6.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is a revision of the Internet Protocol (IP) developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). IPv6 is intended to succeed IPv4 because of the fact that IPv4 is fast running out of addresses.

Louis Marais, deputy director of system administration at the University of the Free State, told MyBroadband that on 30 August they switched on IPv6 capability on their web proxy servers.

Marais said that he was “shocked” by the high percentage of traffic served via IPv6 instead of the usual IPv4. Today’s traffic graphs show that the university’s IPv6 traffic peaked at around 100Mbps – well over half of the institution’s total traffic.

Marais explained that a large portion of traffic from Google, YouTube, Facebook and the Akamai CDN is served via IPv6 instead of the legacy IPv4 network.

“People who think that there is not a significant IPv6 presence online may be surprised,” said Marais.

The University of the Free State is currently busy rolling out IPv6 across its entire network as part of a larger network redesign project with the help of former TENET CTO Andrew Alston.

The following graphs clearly show the significant IPv6 traffic on the University of the Free State network.

Free State University Total Traffic versus IPv6 traffic

Free State University Total Traffic versus IPv6 traffic

South Africa doing well with IPv6

The latest BGP peering and transit statistics from BGPmon reveal that South Africa is well ahead of other African nations when it comes to IPv6 transit numbers.

According to BGPmon, South Africa leads the IPv6 race with 61 unique prefixes, followed by Egypt (21) and Mauritius (8). Each of these prefixes relates to 1 block of IPv6 addresses and each one roughly equates to one network.

IPv6 prefixes per country

IPv6 prefixes per country

It is interesting to note that Egypt’s ranking is largely related to a single ISP (LINKdotNET) that has broken their network into 20 smaller parts.

The rest of the top 10 origin AS numbers in the current routing table is dominated by South African ISPs that are leading the way in IPv6 adoption (each AS number representing a single autonomous network system on the Internet).

Top origin AS numbers

Top origin AS numbers

The other interesting statistic is the transit AS numbers. This lists the top network operators providing Internet access to other ISPs.

Global IPv6 leader Hurricane Electric claims the top spot as the biggest IPv6 provider to African ISPs. Hurricane Electric is followed by South African ISPs Neology and Internet Solutions who each providing significant proportions of the continent’s IPv6 needs.

Top Transit-Upstream AS numbers

Top Transit-Upstream AS numbers

Related articles

IPv6: Is SA ready?

World IPv6 launch day gets ISPA support

World IPv6 day welcomed by SA stakeholders

IPv6 Day: MyBroadband joins in

IPv4 IP addresses now finished and klaar

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