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Google recommending slow IPv6 migration

By Donna Donnowitz
June 17, 2011
After its enthusiastic participation in World IPv6 Day and general leading role in IPv6 migration, it may be surprising to hear that Google is recommending service providers and users put the brakes on IPv6 adoption. However, Google's time working with IPv6 and testing it on its networks has led the company to warn against IPv6 adoption in the short-term.

Google is not saying businesses should stop working to deploy IPv6 architecture in their networks, but is warning against turning the IPv6 switch on and trying to function in the new protocol.

In a recent company blog post, Google explains that IPv6 networks are experiencing major performance issues when dealing with DNS lookups and the problem needs to be resolved before large quantities of users begin operating on IPv6 network.

The blog explains that Mac, Linux and Windows Google Chrome users are all experiencing significant amounts of latency when the network attempts DNS lookups in IPv6. In some cases, the latency is almost double what is experienced when operating in IPv4. Overall, significant amounts of testing found Windows users experience an average latency increase of 46 percent when using IPv6, while Mac users face a 146 percent latency increase when they use a client-side IPv6 address on their networks.

This finding pertains to users attempting to access the internet using IPv6 addresses, not companies hosting IPv6. Therefore, Google's warning does not in any way infringe on the growing urgency of IPv6 deployment, but instead shows companies they need to work quickly not only to implement IPv6, but also to optimize it and ensure users experience comparable performance to IPv4.

The report said most users experiencing IPv6 DNS lookup problems are using either serial or parallel request systems.

"Obviously, issuing in serial will be more latency impacting than doing them in parallel. But, even issuing them in parallel will be slower, as the maximum latency of two samples along a normal curve will be lower than the average latency of a single sample along the same curve," the blog said.

Overall, Google warned that more research needs to be done to address this issue and ensure IPv6 performance.

Such problems could be common as more users begin accessing the internet through IPv6 devices. In a recent InformationWeek report, industry expert Amar Khan said large-scale IPv6 deployment will likely take years to get right, and it may be at least five years before just 5 to 10 percent of internet users are deploying IPv6 devices.


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