IPv6 support in the UK

October 22nd, 2014 by

Recently Mythic Beasts went to the first meeting of the UK IPv6 Council, a non profit group to assist in rolling out IPv6 across the UK. There was a rapid exchange of knowledge, ideas and progress between organisations.

We heard from network engineers within BT, BSkyB and Virgin Media covering well over half of all the end users in the UK. BT and Virgin have enough IPv4 addresses not to require rolling out IPv6, BSkyB don’t and therefore need to either implement IPv6 or Carrier Grade NAT (CGN), and they really don’t like CGN. Virgin are having portions of their address space taken by other parts of the parent company so may also need IPv6 or CGN. They too don’t like CGN, and already have IPv6 support in all their SuperHubs, even if the functionality is currently disabled. All three companies have IPv6 support in various levels of trial with internal staff members running dual stack. However, all three have plans to roll out customer trials in the first part of 2015.

We also heard from the Belgian IPv6 council about how roll-out in Belgium occurred to nearly 30% of all end users having native IPv6, they went from less than 1% in May 2013, to 16% in May 2014, and 27% now. Once a couple of their large providers started enabling IPv6 the roll-out was very fast. It’s likely the same thing could happen in the UK with three major providers having significant IPv6 plans within the next 12 months.

As an idea of how quickly things might happen, T-Mobile USA has gone from nowhere to the 10th largest IPv6 deployment with 44% of their network IPv6 enabled within 12 months.

So at a guess, Mythic Beasts think that IPv6 rollout in the UK by December 2015, will be either less than 1%, about 25% or roughly 50%. We aren’t sure which, but we think it’s wise to be prepared for every eventuality. To help you with that we have an IPv6 health checker.