IPv6 Diffusion on the Internet Reaches a Critical Point

  • John Pickard (East Carolina University)
  • Mark Angolia (East Carolina University)
  • Te-Shun Chou (East Carolina University)


Every device communicating on the Internet requires a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address which is used to identify that device and to facilitate communication. There are two standards of IP addresses in use today, IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 was the first version of the protocol and has been in use on the Internet since its inception. IPv6 was developed in the mid-1990s as a successor to IPv4 in order to manage the exponential growth of IP addresses required to support new technology. The problem facing the Internet is that there is only a very limited number of unallocated/available IPv4 addresses remaining today, and the entire Internet infrastructure will need to transition to IPv6 if it is to continue to grow. IPv6 represents a virtually unlimited number of addresses to support Internet growth. However, according to Google’s IPv6 adoption statistics report (“Google IPv6 Statistics,” n.d.), usage of IPv6 by devices connecting to the Internet has only reached the 15% mark. IPv6 adoption, or lack thereof, has been a major research topic over the past 20 years as conventional wisdom established the need to transition beyond IPv4. This paper investigates the trend of global IPv6 adoption using six metrics for empirical analysis to evaluate adoption based on Rogers’ diffusion of innovation theory. The results show that IPv6 adoption is just entering the early majority phase of Rogers’ diffusion curve. Further, the analysis predicts that IPv6 diffusion on the Internet has reached a point of critical mass in the latter half of 2017 and will reach the point of 50% adoption in early 2021. Industrial organizations considering a transition to IPv6 need to act now, and institutions of higher education with technology management curriculum must include IPv6 content to meet the coming technology demand.

Keywords: IPv6|internet|internet protocol|technology management|technology diffusion

How to Cite:

Pickard, J., Angolia, M. & Chou, T., (2018) “IPv6 Diffusion on the Internet Reaches a Critical Point”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 34(1).

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Published on
31 Jan 2018