World IPv6 Day: How traffic fared on Web's showcase day

What were IPv6 traffic rates during the recent World IPv6 Day event? The June 8 event, which tested the effects of more than 430 Internet content providers running their websites in a dual IPv4/IPv6 mode, was notably without serious incident or outages. And while traffic was miniscule compared to the total amount of Internet traffic crossing networks worldwide--just 0.3 to 0.5 percent of all traffic--IPv6 traffic was higher than it has yet been.

Initial reports from ISOC (the Internet Society, which hosted the event), according to Tim Winters of the University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), show that IPv6 traffic doubled on June 8, and 35 percent of that traffic was native v6. "Traditionally, 5 percent is native, and most of it is tunneled," he noted.

Akamai monitored and published its traffic rates throughout the day, noting some interesting benchmarks. Early on June 8, overall IPv6 hits on its overall worldwide network reached 458 hits per second, with the majority happening in the North American region. This was a climb from approximately 76 hits per second on June 7.  

Peak traffic rates (Akamai Networks):


Peak hits/second

Peak traffic time

North America


00:30 GMT

South America


14:39 GMT



13:00 GMT



18:00 GMT



11:30 GMT


Latency/Packet Loss (Akamai Networks):



Packet Loss

Europe-North America



Asia/Pac-North America







Akamai overall IPv6 statistics

FreeBSD noted that while IPv6 hits peaked at just below 180 hits/minute on its network, this was statistically barely a blip compared to its IPv4 traffic which peaked at over 1500 hits/minute.

FreeBSD IPv6 traffic

FreeBSD's measurement: IPv4 hits (in red) vs. IPv6 hits (in blue) from midnight June 7 to midnight June 8. (Image source: FreeBSD)

RIPE NCC took some snapshots of IPv6 traffic for the EMEA region, best viewed at, allowing users to look at statistics for several providers including Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yahoo! and Facebook, perhaps the three most popular content sites for v6 hits.

Again, while the stats may not be much to look at compared to the volume of IPv4 traffic, it's well worth a peek at the spike in activity and how it affected IP networks. IPv6 traffic is expected to rise to above 1 percent of all worldwide Internet traffic in the next six months, says Winters, a rate that will have it taking up a significant percentage of traffic faster than many expected.

As the amount of IPv6-capable websites and providers increases and concurrent traffic rises as well, measurement will also increase in importance. Currently, few tools are openly available that measure v6 statistics beyond traffic--stats like security or more detailed performance. "We need to make sure tools are IPv6 ready," said Jean McManus, Executive Director of Packet Technology & Transport, Verizon (NYSE: VZ), following the event. "We need to keep making sure as more people move to v6 that the tools (to troubleshoot) evolve too."

World IPv6 Day: How traffic fared on Web's showcase day