What if… an IPv6-only network

Let’s suppose I decide to run an IPv6-only public hotspot: how many users would be able to surf the web with no troubles? That is, how many devices nowadays run OSs which are able to work out of the box without an IPv4 address?

What this post is / is not

This post does not pretend to be a deep technical analysis of IPv6-only networks and their problems, nor to reflect implementation flavors from different vendors; it’s just meant to give a coarse idea of the IPv6-only readiness status among some of the most used devices as it emerges from a collection of user-reported experiences I have collected here and there.

Just to better describe what I mean, this is the very limited definition of “able to work with no IPv4 addresses” that I kept in mind here: a device that, once instructed by the user, connects to the LAN and allows him/her to open the browser and to surf the IPv6-enabled slice of the web, with no need of hacks, manual configuration, nor long waiting time for fallback mechanisms but providing an user experience directly comparable with the traditional IPv4 or dual-stack networks.
I know, this is just the smallest part of what an user expects from a smartphone or from a laptop, but it allows to set the low bar: a device that with no IPv4 addresses can’t even connect to the network is out of the picture.

In particular, with LAN I mean a network with only a router which supports provision of IPv6 global addresses via SLAAC, RDNSS (rfc6106), DHCPv6 DNS_SERVERS option (rfc3646). WAN/mobile connections are out of the scope of this post.


Disclaimer: what I put together here is a collection of experiences from the field as they have been reported by others, grouped by operating systems versions and correlated to their spread. Some information are missing and – mostly – I could not verify the majority of them, so: please be careful before using these results for any business decision and consider reading the information sources I referenced within the document.

Everything is up on a Google Sheets document:

  • the Support sheet is the core of this collection, it contains the list of OSs I analyzed and the experiences I collected;
  • the StatsByOS sheet contains the OS/version weight statistics I gather from some reference site (please see “Data sources” below);
  • some other sheets are used to build charts and to parse raw data gathered from sources.
  • Here you can find the document. YMMV!

    Please feel free to share your experience and to suggest any improvement I could make.

    Data sources

    OSs distribution

    Info sources

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    Italian, born in 1980, I started working in the IT/telecommunications industry in the late '90s; I'm now a system and network engineer with a deep knowledge of the global Internet and its core architectures, and a strong focus on network automation.

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