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There is a lot of IPv6 servers already in the DNS system

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October 19, 2016

If you ask some people in the know, they might tell you that IPv6 is moving slowly among the general internet community, but the technology is penetrating the web infrastructure at a much higher rate than anticipated.

In a technical article published on his blog, Internet address Registry for the Asia Pacific region chief scientist Geoff Huston has published the results of a recent study into how many servers in the Domain Name System (DNS) support IPv6.

To get a rough idea on the various capabilities of the many DNS resolvers around the globe today, Huston oversaw a 3-month measurement experiment serving between five million and ten million experiments per day through an online advertisement campaign.

The whole exercise resulted in about 400 million individual experiments. The analysis suggests that roughly 35 percent of Internet users have their DNS queries handled by IPv6-capable resolvers, even though only about 7 percent of users are on IPv6.

Getting such numbers out of the internet is more difficult than you might expect, however. One reason for this is that on any given day, overall DNS queries are skewed towards a smaller set of numbers of the largest services.

Google fields about 32 percent of all queries, followed by AT&T at roughly 13.5 percent), Comcast (11.5 percent) and OpenDNS (about 3.4 percent).

By the time you get to 25th on the list, you're looking at a DNS resolver that handles just about 0.4 percent of most queries. That's an interesting side observation in the research, since the whole experiment observed more than 345,000 unique DNS resolvers.

While there's a lot of IPv6 in the global DNS system, Huston still notes that for individual system administrators, making the switch in the respective servers under their control requires considerable care and attention to detail.

“We still see a significant level of IPv6 Path MTU black holes, so it makes some sense to clamp the TCP MSS down to 1220 on IPv6 TCP servers to try to avoid this issue in the first place. At the same time, we also see a significant level of IPv6 extension header packet drop, and in a previous experiment we observed a 30 percent drop rate for fragmented IPv6 DNS responses,” the whitepaper states.

“Overall, the DNS itself is well on its way of a smooth transition and perhaps further along this path than all the other elements of the Internet’s previous infrastructure”, the article asserted.

Source: The Internet Address Registry.


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