What to understand about APNIC IPv6 addresses?

  • APNIC serves as the regional Internet address registry for the Asia-Pacific region, overseeing the allocation and registration of IPv6 and IPv4 addresses.
  • IPv6 adoption is crucial due to the depletion of IPv4 addresses globally, with IPv6 offering a vast pool of addresses necessary for future Internet growth.
  • Transitioning to IPv6 enables the introduction of new services, scalability of networks, and cost reduction, as evidenced by major content providers’ successful transitions and lower Total Cost of Ownership.

The management and allocation of internet resources play a vital role in sustaining the growth and evolution of digital infrastructure. One key organisation at the forefront of this effort is the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), serving as the regional authority for internet address allocation in the Asia-Pacific region.

With the impending exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and the transition to IPv6, understanding APNIC’s role and the significance of IPv6 adoption becomes increasingly crucial. Let’s delve deeper into APNIC’s functions, the importance of IPv6, and its implications for various stakeholders in the digital landscape.

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What is APNIC?

APNIC (the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre) is the regional Internet address registry (RIR) for the Asia-Pacific region. APNIC is one of the world’s five RIRs, as well as it is part of the Number Resource Organisation (NRO). APNIC is a nonprofit, membership-based organisation, in which the members include telecommunication providers, data centres, banks as well as universities, and various other organisations.

The primary functions of the Asia Pacific Information Centre encompass the allocation and registration of IPv6 and IPv4 address space, including ASN, across the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, it oversees the upkeep of a public Whois Database specific to the region, provides representation to various bodies within the Internet community across Asia Pacific, and manages reverse DNS lookup delegations.

What is APNIC IPv6?

Internet Protocol addresses, or IP addresses, are a core part of how the Internet operates. Every device needs an IP address to connect to the Internet and communicate with other computers, networks and devices. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the next generation of the Internet protocol. It was developed to succeed version 4 (IPv4) as IPv4 addresses have almost run out globally. While there are only 3.7 billion unique IPv4 addresses available for use on the InternetISP, the theoretical IPv6 address pool size is 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses. IPv6 addresses comprise 128 bits and they are usually shown as sequences of hexadecimal digits, separated by a colon character ( : ).

IPv6 example address:2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334

Each group is up to four hexadecimal digits long, and each address is made of up to eight groups.

Why is IPv6 important?

In simple terms, the global supply of available IPv4 addresses is nearly depleted, yet the demand for addresses persists with the expanding Internet. Currently, about 40% of the global population has internet access, expected to increase to 52% by 2020, along with a massive surge in internet-connected devices, projected to range from 26 to 50 billion by the same year. IPv6, with its vast address capacity, is crucial for accommodating future internet growth, as even a hypothetical Internet of 100 trillion devices would utilise only 5% of the available IPv6 space. Thus, IPv6 adoption is essential for sustaining internet expansion in the future.

What does IPv6 mean to me?

ISPs. To ensure the future scalability of networks without depending solely on IPv4, ISPs must implement a dual-stack network model. This entails enabling IPv6 access through Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) to prevent customer attrition. Additionally, ISPs should prioritise IPv6 services for new subscribers and incorporate IPv6 into upgrade programs for existing IPv4 customers. Case studies of various regional and global ISPs demonstrate successful IPv6 deployment strategies in their networks.

Mobile operators. Deploy IPv6-enabled production services to cope with increasing mobile device usage and demand for IP addresses, in particular, when deploying new networks such as LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks.

Content/ Application Service Providers. It ensures content can be reached by IPv6 web users and considers IPv6 deployment for Internet connectivity, web servers, load balancers, and firewalls and other modifications such as backbone database changes.

Enterprises / Universities / Govt depts. Enterprise network operators will need to transition using dual-stack to ensure Internet-facing services are accessible over IPv4 or IPv6, while introducing IPv6 access within their own IT network and infrastructure (WiFi, Ethernet, LAN, WAN, laptops and so forth).

End users or individuals. Everyday Internet users should not experience any impact as IPv6 capability is built into most devices already, or can be gained during the next device upgrade.

What’s the benefit of moving to IPv6?

The transition to IPv6 offers numerous benefits, including the capacity to introduce new services and scale networks without grappling with address depletion issues. Major content providers like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn have already transitioned to IPv6, prioritising its speed and efficiency. Moreover, IPv6 adoption can mitigate the escalating costs and complexities associated with IPv4 NAT technology and the acquisition of IPv4 addresses through market transfers, as evidenced by lower Total Cost of Ownership. Embracing IPv6 not only fosters network innovation but also attracts new business opportunities, facilitating market expansion and growth.


Chloe Chen

Chloe Chen is a junior writer at BTW Media. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and had various working experiences in the finance and fintech industry. Send tips to c.chen@btw.media.

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