The State of IPv6 in Canada

Posted by Andree Toonk - January 5, 2011 - IPv6 - 8 Comments

Two weeks we published this article, in which we looked at the status of IPv6 deployment worldwide. We saw that by looking at the number of networks (Autonomous Systems) that announce both IPv4 and IPv6 prefixes, the global IPv6 deployment rate is around 8%.
In this article we’ll take a close look at IPv6 deployment in Canada. From the previous article we know that Canada has an IPv6 deployment rate of 8%, which is the same as the global average. It is however significantly lower than for example New Zealand, Japan and many European countries.

Residential IPv6 services in Canada

Today TekSavy, an independent Canadian service provider, is the only ISP in Canada offering experimental IPv6 services to customers. This is pretty much a global trend, as we see most IPv6 deployments and service offerings are mainly offered by large carriers, down to regional ISP’s, business providers and lastly residential users.

The reason for this is easy, high costs.  Customer premise equipment (CPE), i.e. cable/ DSL modems provided by residential providers, are typically low end devices. They do not support newer technologies such as IPv6 or even the use DNSSEC.  As a result, in order to provide IPv6 services to residential users all of the routers/modems at the customer have to be replaced. This of course is a significant investment for the providers.  In the core of these provider networks, more high-end and typically more modern equipment is used, the majority of these routers have supported IPv6 for quite a while.

So if IPv6 development mainly happens in the core, let’s take a look at the Canadian IP Transit market and how IPv6 has change the market relationships. We’ll start by taking a look at the IPv4 market followed by more detailed analyses of the IPv6 market.

Top 10 IPv4 providers
Let’s first take a look at the view of the Canadian transit market with our IPv4 glasses on. For those familiar with the Canadian market, the list below contains few surprises. The list consists of major Canadian Telco’s and Cable providers as well as most of the global Tier1 providers.

According to the table below Cogent the leads the pack, by providing transit to 159 Canadian networks (autonomous systems).  However we should probably take into account that AS577 (Bell Canada) and AS6539  (GT-BELL) are both owned by Bell.  After GT, Group Telecom, was bought by Bell both networks operated as separate networks, but they’re all Bell customers. Having said that, the real market leader is bell with 197 transit customers.

From the list below the only Transit provider that’s not a Telco / Cable or Tier1 provider is Peer1.  Peer1 is a hosting / transit provider based out of Vancouver and provides transit to 49 Canadian Networks.

The table below shows a list of providers that provide IPv4 Transit to Canadian IPv4 networks.

Num of Customers AS number Network Name
159 174 COGENT Cogent/PSI
113 577 BACOM – Bell Canada
105 15290 ALLST-15290 – Allstream Corp.
102 852 ASN852 – Telus Advanced Communications
88 3356 LEVEL3 Level 3 Communications
84 6539 GT-BELL – Bell Canada
84 6327 SHAW – Shaw Communications Inc.
64 701 UUNET – MCI Communications Services, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Business
63 3257 TINET-BACKBONE Tinet SpA
57 6453 GLOBEINTERNET TATA Communications
50 3549 GBLX Global Crossing Ltd.
49 13768 PEER1 – Peer 1 Network Inc.


Top IPv6 providers

Now let’s take a look at the Canadian transit market with our IPv6 glasses on. The situation now looks quite different.  The first thing to notice is that non of the Canadian Telco’s or Cable providers are represented in this list. With the exception of Peer1 and Canarie this list has no Canadian providers at all.

Hurricane Electric is the market leader in the Canadian IPv6 Market. No real surprise, as they are the global leader.  Globally, Hurricane Electric provides transit to three times as many networks as the runner up Global Crossing. Other major players are AS3257 Tinet (formerly known as Tiscali), Tata, Global Crossing, Level3 and NTT America.

The only Canadian Transit networks on this list are Peer1 and AS6509, Canarie. Canarie is the Canadian Research and Education (R&E) network, comparable to for example Internet2 in the US and Geant/Dante in Europe. Although TATA communication has some Canadian roots (it used to be TeleGlobe) It’s fair to say that the Canadian IPv6 transit market is dominated by non Canadian companies, specifically large global carriers.

In fact most of the Canadian transit providers that are market leaders in IPv4 do not provide transit to any IPv6 network (Telus, Bell, Allstream).  The exceptions are Peer1 (providing transit to 271/BCNET, 11290/ Cogeco Cable and 36483/ gossamer Threads) and Shaw that provides transit to AS271/BCNET.

The table below shows a list of providers that provide IPv6 Transit to Canadian IPv6 networks.

Num of Customers AS number Network Name
36 6939 HURRICANE – Hurricane Electric, Inc.
16 3257 TINET-BACKBONE Tinet SpA
12 6453 GLOBEINTERNET TATA Communications
6 6509 CANARIE-NTN – Canarie Inc
4 3549 GBLX Global Crossing Ltd.
4 3356 LEVEL3 Level 3 Communications
4 2914 NTT-COMMUNICATIONS-2914 – NTT America, Inc.
3 6762 SEABONE-NET TELECOM ITALIA SPARKLE S.p.A.
3 13768 PEER1 – Peer 1 Network Inc.
3 174 COGENT Cogent/PSI
3 4436 AS-NLAYER – nLayer Communications, Inc.
2 15412 FLAG-AS Flag Telecom Global Internet AS

Research and Education
Research and Education (R&E) networks globally have been early adaptors and in Canada Canarie is no exception as they have been running IPv6 for many years. If we zoom in a little more into the Canadian R&E community we see that in the world of IPv4, fourteen Canadian networks appear behind AS6509 (Canarie).  In the world of IPv6 that’s seven networks. This would make for a score of 50% in our IPv6 deployment scale.  Significantly better than the average Canadian Ipv6 deployment score of 8%.

IPv4 IPv6 Origin AS Network Name
Yes Yes 271 BCNET-AS – BCnet
Yes Yes 376 RISQ-AS – Reseau Interordinateurs Scientique Quebecois (RISQ)
Yes No 611 CANET11-AS – University of Toronto
Yes No 841 CANET2-ASN – Canadian Research Network
Yes Yes 2884 NAP-THREE – RA-NAP
Yes No 3359 U-ALBERTA – University of Alberta
Yes Yes 7860 UPEI-AS – University of Prince Edward Island
Yes Yes 8111 DALUNIV – Dalhousie University
Yes No 10965 MRNET – MRNet
Yes No 10972 NF-CANET2 – Memorial University, NF CAnet 2 gigaPOP
Yes Yes 15296 NETERA – Netera Alliance Inc.
Yes No 26300 SASK-RESEARCH-NETWORK – SRNet Saskatchewan Research Network Inc.
Yes Yes 26677 ORION-ASN – ORANO
Yes No 26806 SASK-RESEARCH-NETWORK-2 – SRNet Saskatchewan Research Network Inc.

Please keep in mind that these results are based on BGP data, this means that if the AS is not visible in the data,  it’s considered as not IPv6 ready. If a network uses provider aggregated address space, the actual more specific might not be visible because of aggregation. In those cases the networks will be considered as not IPv6 ready.

Conclusion

The good news for Canada is that compared to the rest of the world, Canada’s IPv6 deployment ratio of 8% is on par with the global average. It’s however significantly lower than countries it normally likes to compare itself with.
Traditionally the IP Transit market in Canada was heavily dominated by Canadian Companies. However these companies have missed the boat in the new world of IPv6. Most of the IPv6 ready Canadian networks are now forced to by transit from the larger global carriers. As more and more transit RFP’s have IPv6 as a mandatory requirement, this could very well result in loss of IPv4 customers as well.

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