Home Asia-Pacific III 2013 Growing the Internet

Growing the Internet

by david.nunes
Jari ArkkoIssue:Asia-Pacific III 2013
Article no.:4
Topic:Growing the Internet
Author:Jari Arkko
Organisation:Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
PDF size:392KB

About author

Jari Arkko, Chair of IETF

Jari Arkko is an Expert on Internet Architecture with Ericsson Research in Jorvas, Finland. At the IETF, he served six years as one of the Internet Area Directors in the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) and one year as a member of the IAB (Internet Architecture Board). From March 2013 he is serving as the General Area Director and IETF Chair. Jari has published 36 RFCs (Request for Comments), including specifications for Mobile IPv6, EAP-AKA, Diameter, SEND, and various IPv6 related documents. He has previously served as a chair of three IETF working groups.

Jari has also served in the Technical Advisory Board for the IP Smart Objects Alliance (IPSO) and works in a number of research projects at Ericsson. In the past, Jari has worked in the implementation of routers, VPN software, testing tools, modem banks, cellular network nodes, AAA systems, compilers, and AI systems. He received his Licentiate’s degree from Helsinki University of Technology in 1996. Jari’s main interests in the Internet include architecture, IPv6, small implementations, the Internet of Things, social media, Internet governance, and cutting through hype that often surrounds some aspects of our technology. He likes to build and and use the technology that he works with. For instance, he moved to an IPv6-only network in 2010 and builds smart home networks as a hobby. He frequently communicates with his laundry on Facebook.

Article abstract

The advent of Internet of Things and billions more online users is instrumental in consuming IPv4 addresses. The uptake of IPv6 has started accelerating, especially after the World IPv6 Launch (June 2012), when large amount of popular content suddenly became available both on IPv4 and IPv6. It is important that this will not be hampered by restricting new services. The fundamental peer-to-peer nature of the Internet is key to ‘permissionless innovation’ – and that is dependent on freely available IP addresses to anyone or anything that needs them. Hence, deploying IPv6 removes barriers to network growth, which is essential for all our future development. onnecting Billions More,

Full Article

In the past few months I have had the opportunity to travel around the world to meet and talk with contributors to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and other important organisations in the Internet ecosystem. From these conversations, it is clear to me that while there is incredible variation in Internet service—and that the Internet faces different challenges and opportunities around the world—a few key constants are true everywhere. One of these is that the Internet is an amazing platform for innovation.

Built on open standards developed by the IETF, individuals and organizations use the global Internet for their own purposes. The internet allows communities to develop their own content and empowers people to connect to each other in new and richer ways. This open model has been incredibly successful. More than 2.5 billion people are already online, and billions more are expected to join them in the next few years.

At the same time, we are equipping more and more objects—smartphones, tablets, cameras, thermostats, automotive components, and household appliances—with communications capabilities built on Internet protocols. Eventually, everything that could benefit from intelligence and communications capabilities will have them. These connected devices already are changing how we work and live, and they will be instrumental in tackling important efforts, such as increasing energy efficiency, improving medical care, and understanding our environment. Open Internet protocols are the foundation for this Internet of Things.

But this success and growth presents a shared challenge to everyone who uses the Internet today and into the future. As more and more devices become Internet-connected, the global Internet system needs new addresses. The address space originally created for the Internet, IPv4, has essentially run out. The last of the global pool of IPv4 addresses were allocated to regions around the world in 2011. IPv4 addresses are already exhausted in two of the five regions, and two more are projected to be out of addresses by the end of 2015.

Fortunately, a new and nearly infinite amount of Internet address space has been allocated, embodied in a new version of Internet Protocol, IPv6. While its design was completed years ago by the IETF, its deployment has been slow—until recently. In the last two years the world has taken significant steps to move to an IPv6-enabled Internet, which will allow the promise of more connected people and devices to become real.

In 2011, major Internet content providers such as Facebook and Google experimented with the technology on their publicly visible web sites. In 2012, as part of the World IPv6 Launch effort, these providers—Internet Service Providers (ISPs), home router manufacturers, and many others—made IPv6 business as usual, permanently enabling support for the IPv6 protocol. In fact, on the very first day, 6 June 2012, a major shift occurred in the Internet as large amount of popular content suddenly became available both on IPv4 and IPv6. One year after the initial day IPv6 traffic had doubled, and it is now doubling every 10 months by some measures. Today, more than 2% of visitors to global websites are using IPv6. (http://www.google.com/intl/en/ipv6/statistics.html). If this trend continues, in a couple of years the majority of website visitors will use IPv6. However, to continue the trend we need to work hard to update networks, equipment, and make sure that all our services work well on the IPv6-enabled Internet.

The Internet is large and updates take time, but I think we are on a path where the uptake of IPv6 is accelerating. The ISPs involved in the World IPv6 Launch and various existing networks provided an initial user base. Since then, ISP networks that connect consumers to the Internet have continued to deploy IPv6, most recently in places such as Peru, Switzerland, and Singapore. But what will drive deployment of IPv6 across the entire Internet?

Economics will play a key part in driving this change. As IPv4 addresses have become scarce, address trading has begun. This means that there is now an additional significant cost for setting up any new service -it requires IP addresses. It is getting more and more expensive to launch new services using IPv4 alone. This is true of any new service—from publishing content to providing Internet access. Address sharing, a tactic taken by some ISPs, is possible, but extreme forms of address sharing not only cause the user’s experience to deteriorate, but also increase the cost of administering the network.

More importantly, for the Internet to continue to flourish, I believe it must support what I call permissionless innovation. Permissionless innovation is about the ability of anyone to create new things on top of the Internet communications tools. Most new applications in the Internet are the result of grass-roots innovation, start-ups and research labs. No permit had to be applied for, no new network had to be built, and no commercial negotiations with other parties were needed when Facebook started, for instance. The easier we make the creation of these innovations, free of coordination and permission-asking, the faster the new Skypes, Spotifys, Facebooks, and Amazons, and will appear.

The architecture of the Internet, shaped by the end-to-end principle, supports permissionless innovation at a very basic level—as long as there are addresses available. Deploying IPv6 removes barriers to network growth. This is not technology for the sake of technology, or as an abstract concept that has no practical implication for what people do today on the Internet. In fact, this is key to allowing organizations to use the Internet in new ways, for communities to collaborate, and for individuals to connect to each other more richly.
Consider this: the Internet existed for a decade before Tim Berners-Lee came up with the idea of the World Wide Web. And just a couple of years ago we did not have social networking. There will be new and significant innovations in the future and we want them flourish on the Internet. IPv6 is key to creating an environment that makes sure they do.
The billions of people coming online around the world will depend not only on IPv6 to do so, but also on the broader foundation of open protocols on which the Internet is built. We are likely to need further protocols to be developed in places like the IETF, with the input of these new Internet users to help tackle the differing challenges they face. This will not just grow the Internet for the newly online, but also increase the potential for all of us to benefit from the innovations they create—without asking for permissio

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