The adoption of IPv6 addresses is on a surprising upswing, according to a new study released by InfoBlox, which found that the number of DNS zones in the .com, .net, and .org subdomains that support IPv6 increased this year by 1,900 percent, from 1.27 percent in 2010 to 25.4 percent in 2011.
The primary driver of this increase? Internet registrars, particularly U.S.-based registrar and hosting provider GoDaddy.
"There were also a few other registrars internationally that picked up IPv6 support that helped to move the needle," said Cricket Liu, general manager of InfoBlox's IPv6 Center for Excellence, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "But I did not realize that before these results came out that there was that much concentration in that market for hosting zones for other people and that the adoption by a single registrar could move the needle so dramatically."
The IPv6 census has been conducted every year for the past six years for InfoBlox by The Measurement Factory.
GoDaddy's influence is significant-factoring the registrar out of the results shows that the number of zones supporting IPv6 increased organically to 3 percent-but it wasn't necessarily a move GoDaddy wanted to make.
"Clearly there's some pent-up demand on the part of customers of the registrars," said Tom Coffeen of InfoBlox. "GoDaddy did not choose to enable IPv6 support for its DNS services out of the kindness of their heart. Basically, they're feeling the pressure from their customers to enable that support, as other registrars are as well, so that bodes well for continuing adoption of IPv6 in the registrars so the trend should reflect that next year."
Liu optimistically estimated that if other major registrars like Dotster and Network Solutions see a large pickup in IPv6 adoption next year, that the number of DNS zones supporting the addressing protocol could increase to as much as 50 percent.
However, the increase in IPv6 DNS addresses is not the only factor necessary to ensure adoption of IPv6. Many U.S. Internet service providers (ISPs) do not offer IPv6 connectivity to subscribers, meaning companies will still need to run dual-stack nameservers to be accessible to the majority of Internet users.