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Study: P2P is 61% of IPv6 Traffic, 8% of IPv4


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Though IPv6 traffic still makes up less than 1% of all Internet traffic, P2P traffic, largely the BitTorrent client uTorrent, comprises 61% of application traffic.

With IPv4 addresses quickly dwindling, in particular the Asia-Pacific region, it seems only a matter of time that Internet carriers will have to switch to IPv6′s 128-bit address system. A new study by Arbor Networks examined the rate of adoption in advance of the upcoming "World IPv6 Day" and concludes that the switch has so far been "unsuccessful."

"The increasing scarcity of IPv4 address space has motivated renewed interest in IPv6," reads the study. "With billions and billions of possible addresses, IPv6 provides a long-term evolutionary path for the Internet, including the anticipated 'Internet of Things.' Unfortunately, the IPv6 migration effort has largely been unsuccessful to date.

During the six month study period IPv4 inter-domain traffic grew by an average of 40-60% whereas IPv6 (both native and tunneled) decreased by an average 12%. IPv6 traffic. IPv6 traffic is still just 0.03% of total Internet traffic.

What is curious though is that 61% of IPv6 traffic is P2P-related, a large part of that being the BitTorrent client uTorrent which is designed to use IPv6 tunneling. When uTorrent started to support IPv6 for its P2P traffic back in August of 2008 it "helped drive IPv6 traffic from .002% to .03% of all Internet traffic (a dramatic 15x jump)." Arbor Networks says the high level of IPv6 P2P traffic is likely due to the fact that there are still few capable firewall and traffic management solutions.

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For comparison, it notes that IPv4 P2P traffic is a mere 8%. The largest share is of IPv4 application traffic is video streaming (Netflix, YouTube, Flash) at a combined 40%.

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The study comes in advance of "World IPv6 Day" on June 8th. On that day providers around the world are to enable IPv6 by default on most of the major popular Internet web sites as part of a 24-hour test for network failures.

For BitTorrent users the switch will mean that P2P traffic will likely come under increased scrutiny.

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