IPv6 is the New black – Are the Manufacturers in Taiwan Ready for the Change?

Back in 2011, when the warning of IPv4 exhaustion was noticed, Internet registration authorities and standard organizations were both trying to inform carriers, network services and content providers about the scarcity and limits of IPV4 addresses. With 5G services came into commercial operation on June 30, 2020, carriers in Taiwan rushed for grabbing a good chunk of market share with their new 5G tariff plans and services. They also strengthened the support of IPv6 on mobile and connected devices. Similarly, content providers also strived hard in supporting IPv6 solutions. By November 2020, over 33% of worldwide traffic to Google.com went through IPv6 connections. In response to the advent of the 5G era, using IPv6 as a default protocol has been highlighted as one of the developing trends, but the question is can home network also keep up with the change.

According to the data released by Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC), the number of IPv6 users surged in 2020 and the proportion of IPv6 users reached 50% in October of the same year. Domestic IASP such as HiNet and mobile operators such as Chunghwa Telecom now all support IPv4/IPv6 dual stack connectivity. Region-based cable TV services providers, for example, TBC in Southern Taoyuan area, also followed the progress in deploying IPv6 solution. Nevertheless, in a home network environment, successful connections through IPv6 requires another vital element – routers.

Based on GfK Retail and Technology Market Intelligence report, there were nearly 400 thousands routers sold in Taiwan in 2019. Compared to the same study conducted in 2 years ago, the market size of routers declined for around 14%. Brands such ASUS, TP-Link, D-Link, TOTOLINK and Tenda, occupied more than 90% of market sales. These brands were mostly the key players back in 2017. Taiwanese consumers spent between USD 12 to USD 35 for a router in average.

A project targeted at examining the top 20 best-selling routers in 2019 and their compatibility with IPv4/IPv6 PPPoE and IPv4/IPv6 dual stack was conducted by Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC) in 2020. This project included a serial testing and can be divided into 3 major sections with 8 testing items.

3 Major Sections included

  • IPv4/IPv6 dual stack services supportability
  • Auto-detection of users’ internet environment
  • Pre-determine PPPoEv4/v6 or IPoEv4/v6 as default with a single password shared in between.

8 Testing items were

  • PPPoE dial-up connection of the testing router
  • IPv6, IPv6 PD, DNSv6 obtained
  • Users’ IPv6 Internet access
  • Accesses of webpages
  • Updates from re-dialing
  • DNSv6 configured correctly when connected via WiFi.
  • Users’ connection through Wi-Fi IPv6
  • Settings of IPv6 PPPoE (or PPPoEv6) is enabled together with IPv4 PPPoE

The result indicated that 15 out of top 20 best-selling models in 2019 can support dual stack solution. The remaining 5 models were the ones which have been in the market for long and the ones that soon be phased out from the market. The result reflected the trend of moving towards supporting IPv4/v6 dual stack in router development.

Nowadays, the rapid development of the internet has reached a point where IPv6 has already became the emerging trend in protocols. The trend is not only for content providers and mobile operators, but also for the manufacturers. Implementing the learnings from industry researches that builds up the foundation for Taiwanese router manufacturers to compete in diverse markets.

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