The IPv6 standard was first published in 1998 which is now 15 years ago. For a while it looked like adoption would drag on forever resulting in some anguished discussions. But by about 2011 IPv6 started to develop real momentum on private networks with Google achieving 95% IPv6 on their internal network at the end of 2011. Another major milestone was World IPv6 Launch Day, which took place last June.
A study that was just presented a couple of weeks ago at the NANOG conference shows (PDF) that IPv6 public traffic is growing meaningfully for the first time. The numbers are still small, but here is one encouraging chart:
This is the fraction of enduser traffic to Google.com that is IPv6 ready. The chart shows that it’s still tiny but now approaching 1% and growing rapidly.
What is especially encouraging in the study is how much of DNS already supports the AAAA record which provides the IPv6 address. The study finds that 89% of active DNS resolvers already look for it. Yet so far only 0.16% of .com and 0.84% of .net addresses have an AAAA entry. That goes up to 3% among the Alexa top 10K sites (would be interesting to know for the Alex top 100 — someone should run that).
So I think two things could further help IPv6 adoption. First is for anyone whose servers and service support it is to start adding AAAA records. Second, is to make end users aware of whether they have an IPv6 address from their ISP or not and why that matters. This post is already getting a bit long, so I am going to write about why that matters in a separate post (hint: it’s not just the IPv4 address crunch).
We are at a perilous fork in history where many of the choices that we are making now and in the coming years will determine whether we are headed towards an information-based utopia or dystopia. It is not any single choice that matters but rather their cumulative effect and how these choices interact with each other.
Here is how I see the two possible extreme future states of the world:
Utopia. Transparent information sharing. Global collaboration. Renaissance of arts. Reputation more important than money. Sharing of resources. Democratic networks replacing autocratic hierarchies.
Dystopia. Widespread use of encryption. Pervasive secrecy and distrust. Splintered and isolated sub-networks. Information and intellectual property used for control and power. Dictatorships and rule by special interests.
Now you may say that these are caricatures of the future and I would agree that they are extreme depictions. But what I am getting at is that there are strong complementarities between different aspects of an information-based society. For instance, you cannot have widespread use of encryption and simultaneously broad sharing of resources. Why? Because the latter is based on an open flow of information where new systems can easily be built on top of existing ones.
Lots of little choices will matter here not just by politicians but by all of us. As endusers, do we buy general purpose computers or locked down devices? As content producers, do we insist on hardline copyright enforcement or do we work on facilitating legal purchases? As developers, do we work on encrypted and isolated networks or on platforms for transparent collaboration? As investors, do we care only about financial returns or also about growing communities?
Each of us will be presented with many of these seemingly small choices. What we each decide to do will determine the future we all live in. The more we embrace the utopian vision the better our chances of actually getting there!
While I was traveling last week, I had an epiphany: there is a common theme to pretty much everything I have been writing about here on Continuations! The theme is the transition from the Industrial Age towards what I will call the Age of Abundance. I believe we are in a period of massive transformation that is on par with the move from agricultural to industrial society (or before that from hunter gatherers to farmers).
So rather than just continue with my regular somewhat haphazard blogging, I will try to cover the points from an outline (in addition to the random posts spurred by events). Here is a rough cut of that outline.
1. What will characterize the Age of Abundance? There will be many surprises, but here are some ideas
- Abundance of goods (duh)
- Flat and fluid organization structures
- Shared global responsibilities
- Reputation economy
2. Are there any signs that this could actually be happening? There has been plenty of talk in the past about “post industrial society” and (I realize given the title of this post) a “new age” without much to it in the end. So why now?
- Growth in productivity
- Changes in allocation of time
- Slowing down of birth rates
- Stretching of wealth distribution
- Rise of “false prophets”
3. What can we do as individuals? If this transition is really under way how should we change what we are doing?
- Stand up against ignorance (second enlightenment?)
- Embrace experiences over stuff
- Listen to our children
- Connect with people around the world
4. What can governments do?
- Replace heavy bureaucracy with light-weight governance
- Embrace transparency
- Promote young people to real responsibility
5. What can companies do?
- Empower the individual
- Ignore nation state boundaries
- Focus on deep value
6. What could go wrong?
- Lots of distribution fights
- Kill off the open networks
- Long tail threats
- Can’t figure out the governance
That’s my current outline. It sounds a bit abstract at the moment, but I am pretty sure that I can illustrate much of it with examples of what is already happening (and hopefully a fair bit of that from the Union Square Ventures portfolio). I am not planning to follow the outline in order, just to cover the points that are on here.
Would love feedback on the topic itself, the points in the outline and anything else that comes to mind!
I continue to be amazed at the things we have available to us - we generally live in the future. But every once in a while the past intrudes with full force. As in when I tried to connect an HTC Evo to a Mac laptop with a USB cable to transfer a bunch of video. At first, I got absolutely nothing. Then I went into settings on the Evo to discover that there is a setting to change the USB connection from “charging only” to “mount.” Easy, I thought, until I noticed a pop-up on the Mac saying “Unrecognized volume” with three options “Format”, “Ignore” and “Eject.” I very gingerly moved the pointer so as to not accidentally hit the “Format” button and gently tapped “Eject”, sighing a (pre-mature) sigh of relief.
Turning back to the Evo, I suddenly see an unhappy SD card icon flashing. I go to camera to find that there is no archive — not a trace of the video. At this point, I am in a minor state of panic at the thought of having lost the video that Susan and our youngest spent the morning recording. Again, this time on the Evo there is the helpful suggestion of letting me reformat the SD card. Not quite willing to give up, I turn the Evo off, take out the battery and reboot. Going back to the camera, the Evo initially still shows no sign of the videos, but then flashes as “Searching for images” on the screen and after doing that twice finally recovers the videos.
At this point I search around and find that other people have run into this problem. Someone provides a solution using USB debug mode but I couldn’t get that to work either. In the end, I wound up transferring the videos via Bluetooth which is quite slow compared to a USB connection. It seems incongruous that one could have a device as powerful as the Evo and then have it stumped by a seemingly trivial problem. This whole experience reminds me of something else that never seizes to amaze me: engineers can make airplanes fly but they can’t get the cabin temperature to stay in a comfortable range. Oh well. Maybe it’s good to have some reminders of the past.