Nab standing on hill under starry sky

IPv6 To The Stars

Mat Ford
Technology Insights, Internet Society
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January 5, 2023

The stars are aligning for IPv6 deployment. The last two months have seen huge rollouts of IPv6 technology at the Ukrainian ISP Kyivstar and the satellite Internet operator Starlink. We want to highlight these significant, ongoing IPv6 deployments as they serve to illustrate the continued adoption of this key enabling technology by major network operators serving millions of Internet users.

Kyivstar Logo

IPv6 Supports Billions of Devices

IPv6 is the latest version of the fundamental technology (Internet Protocol) that powers the Internet. The previous version, IPv4, is still in operation on many networks around the world but can only support an Internet of a few billion devices. By contrast, IPv6 can support an Internet of billions of billions of devices and can provide enough address space to meet the needs of the growing Internet for decades to come. Simply put, the Internet has outgrown its original design and IPv6 is the solution.

Rapid Deployment in Ukraine

It’s especially encouraging to see such rapid deployment to Ukrainian Internet users at this time of conflict. Kyivstar is the largest mobile operator and one of the largest broadband Internet providers in Ukraine, serving about 26 million mobile subscribers, and more than a million broadband fixed Internet subscribers. Kyivstar is the first Ukrainian ISP to rollout IPv6 at scale. It’s truly inspiring to witness this attention being paid to engineering improvements for Ukrainian Internet users given all the other challenges faced by everyone in Ukraine at this time.

IPv6 deployment started growing in September 2022 and then really took off in November. IPv6 is now in use by around a third of all Kyivstar subscribers.

The IPv6 deployment at Starlink has been even more rapid than that at Kyivstar. After some initial smaller scale deployments in November, IPv6 adoption on the Starlink network went from around 10% to nearly 50% during the week of 29 November. We hope to see these numbers grow further throughout 2023.

Internet Society Pulse presents measurements of IPv6 adoption to raise awareness of the different levels of IPv6 adoption in different countries and networks around the globe, and to encourage greater adoption of this important enabling technology. Check out more IPv6 measurement results on our Enabling Technologies page.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash