New boost for IPv6 implementation in the Netherlands

Global adoption of IPv6 continues

Although growth in the use of IPv6 faltered two years ago, steady progress is still being made with the protocol's global adoption. Leading the way are India, the USA and China. The Netherlands lags a long way behind and is starting to feel the economic consequences. However, the adoption of IPv6 is hopefully about to receive a boost, thanks to initiatives by SIDN and the Dutch government.

Steady progress is being made with the adoption of IPv6. Tore Anderson, Network/Infrastructure Architect at Redpill Linpro, points out that more than fifty countries worldwide have now passed the 10 per cent IPv6 adoption marker (according to Google data). The picture of general growth matches the analysis published this summer by APNIC researcher George Michaelson. In his blog post 'IPv6 in 2019: Where to from here?' George flagged up some major differences between the current adoption landscape and the one visible two years ago.

Asia on the up

A couple of years back, India still accounted for 49 per cent of all visible IPv6 addresses (relative to population), followed at some distance by the US with 22 per cent.


Since then, there has been a significant shift. India now accounts for "only" 30 per cent of the market, while the US accounts for 24 per cent and China has come from nowhere to occupy third place with 10 per cent.


We have previously written about how India and China are rolling out IPv6 on a huge scale. India's position in the IPv6 rankings owes much to mobile communications provider Reliance Jio, which has transferred several hundred million Android users to IPv6-only services. The emergence of China is down to a government policy of rolling out IPv6 on a large scale: the China Next Generation Internet policy adopted for the 2008 Olympic Games. The intention is that all China's internet users should have IPv6 connections by 2025 [1, 2]. According to Michaelson, therefore, the trends now visible are down to competition, government policy and investment decisions, rather than the (cumulative) decisions of individual users.

Continuous growth

Michaelson also observes that the growth in IPv6 faltered two years ago, but has since been continuous (from exponential to linear?).


The remainder of Michaelson's analysis focuses on IPv6 adoption by major actors (autonomous systems) in the various markets. Broken down that way, the data shows big differences from one autonomous system to the next. In some cases, big jumps in adoption rates are apparent, presumably linked to individual implementation projects. It's also clear that newer businesses are at an advantage, because adoption doesn't require them to invest as heavily or write off so much IPv4-only infrastructure. You can see who the leading players are worldwide (in terms of traffic and adoption) on the World IPv6 Launch website.


Dutch innovation climate suffering

On this site, we regularly point out that, when it comes to IPv6 adoption, the Netherlands lags a long way behind neighbouring countries. User-side adoption is now 18 per cent here, compared with 51 per cent in Belgium and 43 per cent in Germany. And that situation is harming the economy.


One important cause of the Dutch IPv6 deficit is the policies of the country's main access providers. KPN, [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] Ziggo, [1, 2, 3] T-Mobile [1] and Vodafone [1] don't offer their internet users (proper) dual-stack IPv6 connections, although KPN and Ziggo in particular have been promising their customers a large-scale rollout for years.

Incentive scheme

On the server side, the situation is now improving. Along with the Forum for Standardisation and the Platform for Internet Standards (which has taken over the old IPv6 Task Force's promotional role), SIDN strongly supports the further rollout of IPv6. Two years ago, for example, we introduced a financial incentive for registrars, which brought about a big rise in the number of Dutch DNS, web and mail servers with IPv6 addresses.

AOC-SIDN-IPv6 ontwikkeling nl zone-okt2019-diagram

As the graph above shows, the proportion of IPv6 servers has gone from roughly 10 per cent to 30 per cent in the space of two and a half years. The (relatively small) decline in September was down to a single registrar switching to an external mail service provider. The provider hopes to implement IPv6 (plus DMARC and DKIM) before the end of the year.

New boost

With the aim of helping our registrars to implement IPv6, last month we linked up with the Registrars' Association to organise three IPv6 workshops under the banner of the SIDN Academy. Each workshop lasted a full day and provided registrars with an excellent opportunity to hone their IPv6 expertise. Our hope and expectation is that the initiative will deliver a boost to the number of IPv6-enabled DNS, web and mail servers. The Dutch government is also working hard to accelerate the adoption of IPv6. Earlier this month, Logius, VNG Realisatie, various suppliers, service providers and other governmental agencies signed the IPv6 Declaration of Intent. The signatories have set themselves the target of IPv6-enabling all government web and mail servers by the end of 2021. That aim has since been formalised by the Forum for Standardisation in a 'vision agreement'.


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