Unser Blog

Why half of all Internet traffic will be IPv6 by 2020


15 . August  2017

Tim Rooney

Posts nach Autoren: Tim Rooney, Diamond IP Product Management Director, BT.


Over the past few years, many predictions have circulated about the direction of the Internet. Here’s how some of them compare to the reality.

Predictions from the past

As we've crossed into the second half of 2017, it's time to take stock of how the Internet continues to evolve. It has changed from the pure IPv4 network of nearly a decade ago, to the increasingly mixed IPv4-IPv6 Internet of today.

Over the last few years, I've posted a summary of Google's IPv6 statistics measurements. I’ve also extrapolated these forward a year or two, based on exponential and quadratic regression curves.

Google's data only represents one perspective, but it’s probably a good indicator for the Internet at large. So lets take a walk down memory lane to see how prior years' predictions have panned out.

Reading the results

In February 2014, I posted my first set of curve-fitting projections and actual measurements — as the table below shows:

End of year
















Clearly, the exponential curve fit was overly ambitious, while the quadratic fit underestimated the curve.

Changing expectations

Another of my posts, from July 2015, illustrated a revised view of the prior predictions:

End of year












Despite scaling back on the prior prediction, the exponential curve fit still proved to be overly ambitious. And, again, the quadratic curve lagged behind the actual results.

Due to this, I've dismissed the exponential curve as unrealistic — and applied a third order polynomial curve fit to serve as a closer upper bound. The following chart illustrates the regression curve, based on data up to the end of June 2017:

IPv6 penetration accelerates

Based on these predictions, IPv6 penetration (defined here as the IPv6 proportion of google.com traffic) would reach 25 per cent in roughly a year, and 30 per cent by the end of 2018.

These projections also suggest that penetration would hit 50 per cent by the second half of 2020. In about three years, the Internet could see an equal split between IPv4 and IPv6.

Of course, these predictions look solely at past performance. As momentum grows, major mobile and Internet providers could take initiatives to accelerate or otherwise alter the pace of IPv6 penetration.

Mobile users might make the difference

So what does this mean for your organisation? If your universe of Internet users (with access to your website, email servers or other Internet applications) mirrors that of Google, you need to begin deploying IPv6, if you haven’t already done so.

Dual-stack devices and those behind carrier-grade NATs should still be able to access your site (given the Internet standard approach of attempting IPv6 connections first, followed by IPv4). But, at some point, it's likely that devices will no longer have access to IPv4 addresses — and will only be able to communicate via IPv6.

Major ISPs have pervasively deployed IPv6 already, with Android and iOS mobile platforms requiring support of IPv6-only networks.

It’s time to move to IPv6

Essentially, you have to consider the lost opportunity in terms of commerce, communications or information sharing, if — in three years’ time — half of the Internet's users cannot efficiently access your website.

So, if you haven’t yet deployed, or even considered, IPv6 implementation, I invite you to access our free online tools. These will help you familiarise yourself with the business drivers for IPv6, your return on investment (ROI) for deploying IPv6, and the mechanics of IPv6 addressing and subnetting.

Our tools can help you understand the implications both of deploying IPv6 (and of not deploying) in terms of opportunity versus cost.

Find out more about BT’s solutions for IP Address Management.