Not Much Action in Adopting IPv6 in Sweden, .SE Finds

.SE - Sweden - logoThe running out of IPv4 address and the need to adopt IPv6 is being addressed around the world, although with not enough urgency. Sweden is in the same position as other countries, and the registry for .SE domain names, .SE, has found that neither the Swedish internet industry nor its business or public sector customers have done much to prepare for the transition to IPv6. This is evident in three recent surveys concerning supply and demand of IPv6 services.

As the number of available IPv4 addresses decline and the prediction that they will run out by 2012, it is becoming more and more important that business adopts IPv6.

However the three surveys .SE has analysed imply that the interest for IPv6 in Sweden is still weak, both with customers, internet service providers and providers of other services. In one survey, 100 Swedish IT managers were queried about IPv6 and more than four out of five of them had not even started thinking about how IPv6 should be implemented in their own organisation. What gives cause for a cautious optimism is that awareness on IPv6 seems to be on the increase. For example, 60 per cent of the IT managers say that they have discussed IPv6 with their colleagues, which should be compared to 37 per cent last year.

Taken in its entirety, the .SE survey shows that Swedish IT managers have not yet taken this in, says Anders Örtenberg of Mistat, the company that produced the survey on behalf of .SE (The Internet Infrastructure Foundation). Judging from prior experience of shifts in technology, for example within mobile telephony, I’m afraid that this lumbering attitude is pretty typical. At the same time, those who go for an early transition get competitive advantages and those who get left behind when it comes to IPv6 can get long-term quality assurance problems toward their customers.

It is only a question of time before the IPv4 addresses will actually run out, and then it will come in very handy to have a lead in the implementation of IPv6, reasons Lars-Göran Forsberg, registrar manager at the web hotel Loopia which has already invested a lot in IPv6. Making our business secure for the future is an issue of minimising risks and you can never emphasise this kind of area enough.

But Loopia is not very representative for the Swedish internet industry. Working on behalf of .SE, consultancy firm B3IT has, for the second year running, produced the report IPv6 is coming – is the industry ready?, based on interviews with representatives of internet service providers (ISP’s) and other service providers. The report concludes that very little has changed during the past year. Service providers are still waiting and seeing when it comes to IPv6, while ISP’s have got further but are still not driving the development.

The positive thing that has happened the report says is that the organisations working with the infrastructure, such as IANA, RIPE and .SE, are now treating IPv6 as an integral part of the Internet, says Håkan Lindberg of B3IT. However, the interest for driving the development forward is weak from the ISPs. Unfortunately, I don’t think there will be much action until the shortage of addresses starts hurting a bit. It’s difficult for people to think in the long-term, although I would advice everyone in the industry to at least start mapping out needs and planning around IPv6 right away.

An international example of companies at the forefront is NTT Communications. NTT Com was the first company to commercially offer IPv6 on a worldwide scale back in 2001.

It is important for the Swedish internet community to embrace IPv6, and take the necessary steps to make IPv6 available to the website and content owners, infrastructure providers and for the enterprises, said Christopher Davis, Director of Marketing for NTT America, the US subsidiary of NTT Com. Email and web communications are part of the early adoption process and more easily attainable than most people believe.

The slowness of the industry also makes things more difficult for companies who actually want to get going. In a survey executed by Certezza in May this year, only 4 out of 12 ISPs could deliver an IPv6 connection without problems.

.SE has long encouraged their customers to get aboard the IPv6 train, but when they wanted to practice what they preached and started using IPv6 themselves they realised that it wasn’t that easy, says Thomas Nilsson of Certtezza. Therefore, they decided to see how the land lies and it turned out that most ISPs are way behind in their thinking, not the least the really big ones. This result underlines the importance for customers to demand IPv6 support from their suppliers.

The Mistat report and IPv6 is coming –is the industry ready? are available for downloading in their entirety (in Swedish) at www.iis.se/se-ar-mer/ipv6/

To download the three surveys on IPv6 in Sweden, click here.