Open Telekom Cloud for Business Customers

Finally time for IPv6

by Roman Rus
IPv6 Internet protocol in front of server room background
IPv6 - now also in the Open Telekom Cloud

In this article you can read about,

  • why IPv4 is a discontinued model,
  • when the Open Telekom Cloud will introduce IPv6 and
  • what advantages are associated with it.

Anniversary of 2023: In 1998, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standardised the “new” Internet Protocol IPv6. However, the big breakthrough for IPv6 has yet to materialise. Most of the Internet world still uses IPv4. Various national initiatives are now set to change this. The Open Telekom Cloud also supports the standard.

IPv6 everywhere? Not at all ...

Europe shows a very divergent IPv6 distribution – a chart from the third quarter of 2023 proves this quite clearly. While countries such as Cyprus and Croatia have neither services nor users IPv6-enabled, Germany (!) is among the leaders with 60 per cent IPv6 users together with Belgium and France. Across Europe, IPv6 still has a lot of catching up to do.

Schaubild zur IPv6-Nutzung in Europa

IPv4 – it works, but for how much longer?

IPv4 is an obsolete model – albeit one that is trickily kept alive. But the fact is: IPv4 with its address space of 232 addresses (123,456,789,000) was a good thing for the first decades of the Internet, but it has been clear for years that it will not be able to cope with the future requirements of the World Wide Web. IPv4 theoretically offers “space” for around four billion IP addresses. That sounds like a lot at first.

But with over eight billion people already living on the planet today, theoretically two people have to share one IP address. If you now consider that not all addresses are released and that there are several IP-enabled devices per person, it becomes clear that there is a bottleneck. And we haven't even included the more than 12 billion IoT end devices in our calculations. The bottom line: IPv4 addresses are a rare commodity – and correspondingly expensive.

There are reasons why IPv4 still works: With technologies such as NAT (Network Address Translation), resourceful minds have further exploited the possibilities of IPv4, for example by bundling several endpoints under one IP address. However, it is not possible to clearly assign end devices in this way and administration is not made any easier with an additional organisational layer.

Good reasons to use IPv6

IPv6, on the other hand, significantly expands the available address space. With IPv6, IP addresses are given a 32-digit hexadecimal code [1234:5678:90ab:cde1:2345:6789:0abc:de12] instead of a 12-digit decimal code. This means that 2128 addresses are available. Or to put it in common decimal numbers: Instead of the 4 billion IPv4 addresses, there are around 340 sextillion (3.4x1038) addresses available. That should be enough for a while.

National initiatives for IPv6

Not only countries such as China and India, but also the EU will be driving the adoption of IPv6 over the next few years. India wants to go “all in” by 2025, while China is aiming for 2030. However, developments in Europe are more relevant for the Open Telekom Cloud. The Netherlands, for example, requires public sector organisations to support IPv6 for websites and mail systems. Further initiatives for the mandatory adaptation of IPv6 are also foreseeable in other European countries. “It works with IPv4 too“ will then no longer be an argument.

IPv6 on the Open Telekom Cloud

The Open Telekom Cloud is responding to these developments and now also offers its users IPv6. This has two main advantages. Firstly, “large” IoT scenarios are now also possible, and secondly, the prices for the Elastic IP Service (EIP) will fall drastically.

If IP addresses become more abundant, it will no longer be necessary to limit supply by price. This will be particularly noticeable for users who use multiple IP addresses to offer their services from the Open Telekom Cloud on the Internet. Until now, they have paid a basic price of €3.21 per EIP.

Comprehensive roll-out by January 2024

IPv6 was introduced during December 2023 as a public beta for the VPC (Virtual Private Cloud), ELB (Elastic Load Balancer), AS (Auto Scaling), and Elastic Cloud Server (ECS) services. Platform-WAF (Web Application Firewall) and Direct Connect will also be supported in the course of the year. The rollout in the Netherlands is planned for the second quarter.

IPv4 users do not have to switch to IPv6! The Open Telekom Cloud implements a dual-stack approach that allows the simultaneous use of IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 installations therefore continue to run without restrictions.

Limit for IPv6?

IPv6 fanatics are of the opinion that the new standard could give every atom in the universe its own IP – but this is actually going a little too far. 3.4x1038 is quite a lot, but not enough for the estimated 1085 to 1089 atoms in the universe. But if you want to network the 7.5 trillion (7.5x1018) grains of sand on Earth into Smart Dust – go ahead. The Open Telekom Cloud is ready ...

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