Of the 4 million+ websites that use CloudFlare, nearly all (98.01%) use IPv6. This has been a long time coming, since IPv6 first debuted commercially a decade ago in 2006 as the 2.0 version of IPv4. In order to move this process along, CloudFlare began enabling IPv6 on around 100,000 sites a day, leading to noticeable growth in AAAA websites between the months of August and October.
IPv6 has enjoyed increasing adoption because it’s the future. For instance, the IETF recently announced that new protocols no longer need to be IPv4 backwards compatible. Also, it’s simply much faster, for two reasons. First, major operating systems and browsers create an artificial delay on IPv4 connections, while instantly handling AAAA replies. Apple, for instance, imposes a 25 ms delay on IPv4 connections in iOS and macOS, biasing toward IPv6. Second, as IPv6-only phones become more popular, connecting to IPv4 websites over mobile networks increasingly requires time-consuming translations.
In all, IPv6 cuts down on connection and loading time on average by 27%. LinkedIn, on the other hand, reported a dramatic 40% performance boost when it transitioned to IPv6.
IPv6 Traffic Insights
CloudFlare reports that its IPv6 traffic has grown in leaps and bounds all over the world in the past months. India has experienced astonishing growth in just the past six months, from sub-1% IPv6 traffic levels to 11.84%. It currently ranks 9th globally for IPv6 traffic. Belgium has nabbed the top slot, with 56.47% of its traffic going over IPv6 connections largely thanks to local ISP Telenet’s full-throated adoption of IPv6. America ranks 17th on the list, at 8.78%.
More than half (55.4%) of IPv6 traffic through CloudFlare is driven by ten major networks. Comcast leads at 11.8%, Facebook comes in at 3rd with 6.9%, and AT&T places 4th with 6.1%.
Additionally, as noted above, mobile traffic are much more likely to use IPv6 connections than desktop traffic. In fact, 21.4% of mobile traffic uses IPv6, compared to 13.6% for desktops. Within the mobile realm, iOS sends approximately one-quarter of its traffic over IPv6, whereas Android sends around one-fifth. iOS and ChromeOS apps together send a lot more IPv6 traffic compared to other operating systems.
When it comes to DNS packet flooding, CloudFlare interestingly notes that none of those attacks occur on IPv6 only, with all the IPv6 attacks also occurring on IPv4. More specifically, while only 10.97% of its DNS traffic is over IPv6, a full 22.03% of its DNS packet floods occur on both IPv6 and IPv4.