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6th Anniversary of World IPv6 Launch – Six Years of IPv6 in the UK

Six years have passed since the World IPv6 Launch on 6 June 2012. Not only have we witnessed a change on a global level, we have seen history change for IPv6 in the UK too. From being a laggard to being part of the pack of Top 10 IPv6 Countries. Anniversaries are always a good opportunity for reflection and to look back, so let’s do it.

In June 2012, according to Google IPv6 Statistics, the UK IPv6 traffic levels were at 0.08%, global IPv6 traffic levels were at 0.63%. Fast forward six years, in June 2018, Google sees 23.65% of user traffic on IPv6, while the UK internet population sends respectful 21.6%,  closely following the global average; the biggest UK IPv6 peak we saw so far was 23% on 1 January 2018. In addition to Google and APNIC, Facebook also provides publicly accessible statistics on IPv6 adoption. The page shows a very similar pattern to the Google data and currently puts the UK at number seven (24%) in the IPv6 adoption table.

What contributed to this significant change?  What enabled our country to move from the tail to the Top 10 IPv6 countries globally, as per the data at APNIC Labs? Let’s go over the last 6 years.

The landscape

In 2012, there was minimal IPv6 deployment in the UK, with around 0.2% of Internet users having access to IPv6.  This was largely from early deployment on Janet, the UK’s national research and education network, and the very first smaller ISPs who took the IPv6 plunge, at the forefront of which were Andrews and Arnold.  While these few ISPs understood the rationale for IPv6 and were offering it to their customers, their contribution to the UK landscape as a whole was, sadly, relatively small.

In April 2014, the UK IPv6 Council was founded with the aim to create a platform to let people share their experiences with IPv6 deployment. While there are other groups and organisations that focus on service provider community, the UK IPv6 Council is a place for everyone, from enterprises, service providers, academia and government, who wants to come and learn from others or help educate the UK IPv6 community. Since its foundation, the Council has grown to almost 600 members, has organised four annual meetings, eight roundtable sessions, two specific topic-focused workshops, and we are planning more. We believe that this platform helped encourage the positive change in attitude to IPv6 that was reflected in the growth of IPv6 deployment in the UK since then.

Who really pushed the IPv6 number up?

Sky announced that they were working on their IPv6 rollout at the first annual Council meeting in October 2014, at which time the UK IPv6 numbers were at just 0.29%. In August 2015, Sky started an internal employee trial and the UK traffic doubled to 0.6%. In Spring 2016, Sky started full-scale customer rollout and the UK IPv6 numbers soared to 15%.  They now offer IPv6 to 98% of their subscribers.

The next wave of UK IPv6 growth is coming from other ISPs who have started to pull their weight. Based on APNIC IPv6 statistics for AS2856, British Telecom has recently surpassed 3 million subscribers on IPv6 (~37% of the AS), and the number only continues to rise.

Virgin Media is also known to be running internal trials and customer trials and we can’t wait for their product launch, hopefully starting later in 2018.

The only remaining large UK broadband ISP which has not publicly stated any IPv6 plans is TalkTalk.

In the mobile provider community, it is EE/BT that leads IPv6 deployment. They are the first UK mobile operator to offer mobile data connections as IPv6-only; they have enabled over 2M consumer customers with IPv6 and expect that growth to continue. Within their network, all EE 4G voice (Voice-over-WiFi, Voice-over-LTE) is over IPv6.

By 2018, the rationale for IPv6 has also changed in an interesting way. From being a subject for the technical community, it is catching the attention of finance people in organisations all over the world. Since IANA allocated the last of the unused IPv4 address space in 2011, the price of that address space on the open market has slowly risen. That cost increases the financial drivers to move away from IPv4 and to explore IPv6-only deployment given IPv6 address space is freely available. Some interesting IPv4 price ranges are published by the IPv4 Market Group; an IPv4 shopping trip is only getting more expensive with time.  In the UK, a good example of changing practices is Mythic Beasts, a hosting company who offers IPv6-only VPS platforms; IPv4 addresses are available to their customers, but as a chargeable extra, as Pete Stevens described during his talk at UKNOF 34 in 2016. We all know that finance departments don’t like chargeable extras.

That’s the story of six years of IPv6 in the UK in a few paragraphs. Thanks to all the UK companies named above but also the unnamed, who have helped the UK progress to be one of the Top 10 IPv6 countries worldwide.  It needs all of us to do our bit so that we continue to lead and to move forward.

IPv6 efforts do get recognised

The last thing that we would like to mention today is that the industry closely watches IPv6 development in all countries. So even if you might think that your IPv6 work goes unnoticed, be sure that is not the case. The UK IPv6 growth has been recognised on an international level; since 2016, ten companies have received a prestigious Jim Bound Award for being an IPv6 World Leader.

2016 – Sky was the first awarded UK company

2017 –  Many more contributed to the UK IPv6 growth: BT, Microsoft IT, Bytemark, Andrews & Arnold, Rackspace, Brasshorn, AQL, CableCom, and Call27

2018 – We can already see new names who will qualify for the award; the new World IPv6 Leaders will be announced at the annual UK IPv6 Council meeting at the end of 2018.

Your company could also be on that list. It needs to send 20% or more of its network traffic on IPv6. Would you care to join the ranks of the World IPv6 Leaders?  If so, let’s see deployment now!

Happy IPv6 Anniversary!

UK IPv6 Council Core team

Cisco & BT – UK IPv6 Council Event

The UK IPv6 Council held a partnership event with Cisco and BT on 23rd January in London.

The aim of the event was to further raise awareness of IPv6 with the wider enterprise community and to hear from industry leaders and peers on the status of IPv6 deployments.

The meeting was held at De Vere Holborn Bars on the north-side of Holborn, next to Chancery Lane underground station and close to Covent Garden.

For more details of the event, please see

The following slide decks are available from the meeting:

  • IPv6 Council Status update (Veronika McKillop, UK IPv6 Council) [slides]
  • IPv6 for Enterprise (Nick Heatley, BT) [slides]
  • JP Morgan IPv6 Business Case (Steve Youell, JP Morgan) [slides]
  • Microsoft Journey to IPv6 (Veronika McKillop, Microsoft) [slides]
  • IPv6 Security Fundamentals (David Holder, Erion) [slides]
  • IPv6 Enterprise Survey (Steve Youell, JP Morgan) [slides]

IPv6 Council Annual Meeting, Dec 2017

The UK IPv6 Council held its Annual Meeting on 5 December, 2017.

BT kindly hosted us at the BT Centre in London, and provided excellent refreshments. Over 100 people attended the meeting.

The agenda covered a broad spectrum of topics and speakers:

09:30 – 10:00 – Arrivals and registration (tea and coffee)

10:00 – 10:15 – Welcome and UK IPv6 Council Status update (Veronika McKillop, President of UK IPv6 Council) [slides] [video]

10:15 – 11:15 – UK ISP and Content Provider Updates

BT and EE (Neil McRae, Nick Heatley) [slides], Andrews and Arnold (Adrian Kennard) [slides], and the BBC (Andrew Hutson, Craig Taylor) [slides] [combined video]

11:15 – 11:25 – Jim Bound Awards [slides] [video]

11:25 – 11:45 – The Importance of IPv6 for 5G (Prof Mischa Dohler, King’s College London) [slides] [video]

11:45 – 12:30 – Better IPv6 Operational Outcomes through Network Design (Ed Horley, Groupware Technology) [slides] [video]

12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch

13:30 – 14:15 – IPv6 @ FB: From the NIC to the Edge (Mikel Jimenez, Facebook) [slides] [video]

14:15 – 14:45 – IPv6 Multihoming from the IETF perspective (Eric Vyncke, Cisco) [slides] [video]

14:45 – 15:15 – IPv6 Deployment at Cosmote Greece (Georgios Manousakis, Cosmote) [slides] [video]

15:15 – 15:45 – Tea and coffee break

15:45 – 16:15 – Why is IPv6 Security so hard? (Enno Rey, ERNW) [slides] [video]

16:15 – 16:30 – Experience from delivering IPv6 training courses and the usual “blockers” of IPv6 deployment (Dr. David Holder, Erion)

16:30 – 17:00 – Discussion with the audience about challenges to deploying IPv6 in small business and enterprises environments (Dr. David Holder, Veronika McKillop) [slides] [video]

17:00 – 17:15 – Closing


IPv6 Security Workshop, Jul 2017

Our IPv6 Security workshop was held on Wednesday 12th July 2017.

BT kindly offered their BT Centre venue in London for the workshop, and provided refreshments. Over 120 people attended, enjoying the presentations, networking opportunities and vibrant discussion.



10:00 – 10:30 – Arrivals and Registrations

Morning session – Setting the scene

10:30 – 10:40 – Opening session [video]

10:40 – 11:00 – Keynote (Dave Harcourt, Chief Security Advisor, BT) – [slides] [video]

11:00 – 11:30 – Keynote: Practical Security Architecture Design (Chief Security Architect, NCSC) – [slides]

11:30 – 12:30 – IPv6 Security Fundamentals (Dr. David Holder, Erion) – [slides] [video]

12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch break

Afternoon session 1 – IPv6 security in practice

13:30 – 14:45 – Practical IPv6 Security tools (Fernando Gont, SI6 Networks) – [slides] [video part 1]

14:45 – 15:00 – IETF IPv6 Security update (Tim Chown, Jisc; Fernando Gont, SI6 Networks) – [slides] [video part 2]

15:00 – 15:30 – Afternoon break

Afternoon session 2 – Lessons learned

15:30 – 15:50 – Stories from the end of thousands of IRC IPv6 connections (Russ Garrett, IRCCloud) – [slides] [video]

15:50 – 16:10 – The routing challenges of IPv6 DoS mitigation (David Freedman, Claranet) – [slides] [video]

16:10 – 16:30 – IPv6 first hop security in cloud environments (David Freedman, Claranet) – [slides] [video]

16:30 – 17:00 – Q&A discussion [video]

17:00 – Close

Neil McRae

David Holder

Fernando Gont

David Freedman


IPv6 Security Workshop – call for speakers

The UK IPv6 Council Security Workshop will take place on 12 July 2017 at the BT Centre, 81 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7AJ.

Attendance will be free of charge. BT have kindly provided the venue and refreshments. We encourage you to reserve the date now; registration will open in due course.

We have some speakers lined up, but the Council is also seeking offers of presentations, panels, and/or lightning talks.

We are looking for content covering IPv6 security engineering and operations, including but not limited to:

Security analysis of IPv6 protocols
IPv6 deployment best security practices
Securing dual-stack deployments
Comparison of IPv4 and IPv6 threat landscapes
IPv6 security tools or test suites
Guidance for IPv6 software implementors
IPv6 and DDoS
IPv6 IoT architectures
First-hop IPv6 security
Network management
Research areas in IPv6 security

Content should be largely non-commercial, and product marketing talks are strongly discouraged. Repeated audience feedback shows that the most successful talks focus on operational experience, research results or case studies. For example, presenters wishing to describe a commercial solution should focus on the underlying technology and not attempt a product demonstration.

If you are interested, please email your proposal to by Friday 28th April.