Brazil Doubles the Number of IPv6 Users and Is among the Region’s Leaders

27/03/2018

Brazil has established itself as one of the countries with the highest levels of IPv6 deployment worldwide and now ranks ninth among nations worldwide.

According to NIC.br, by the end of the year 40% of end users in Brazil will be IPv6-ready, thus doubling the current number. IPv6 has been growing at a dramatic rate, and in 2017 statistics showed it had grown by 100%.

According to Antonio M. Moreiras, project and development manager at NIC.br, this success comes after more than 10 years of offering IPv6 training to the technical community and the awareness-building among access and service operators, telcos, government representatives, vendors and universities.

Moreiras believes that the “people truly responsible” for the current IPv6 numbers in Brazil are the professionals at countless access providers who worked hard on IPv6 deployment.

What do you consider to be the keys to the rapid development of IPv6 in Brazil, now the ninth country with the highest level of IPv6 adoption worldwide?

I believe several factors have contributed to Brazil’s performance in IPv6 adoption. Our work at NIC.br on several fronts was an important factor.

One of these fronts was disseminating information and training the technical community: 10 years ago, in 2008, we launched the IPv6.br website with technical articles on IPv6 which has quickly become a reference on the subject among Portuguese speakers. Then we began with our face-to-face training activities, courses comprising 32 to 40 hours of theory and practice, offered free of charge between 2009 and 2016, which helped train more than 5,000 professionals, among them leaders representing major Autonomous Systems, Internet related companies in Brazil, consultants and university professors. We also launched the book IPv6 Laboratory and taught IPv6 courses in distance learning format. All the teaching material we produce, including our book, is licensed under a Creative Commons license, so it may be freely copied, distributed and reused. In addition, we organize conferences and tutorials at countless technical events, ISP association events and academic events. We also distribute our book among university libraries to encourage its adoption by teachers. From 2011 to 2015 we even organized an annual event – the Brazilian IPv6 Forum – to discuss this topic. Together, these actions led the technical community to have a better understanding of the need to deploy IPv6 while providing the technical support needed to make it possible.

Another important front on which NIC.br focused was the IPv6 coordination meetings we organized mostly between 2011 and 2014. Among others, these meetings were attended by CGI.br, access provider associations, service and content providers, telecommunications companies, government representatives, vendors, ANATEL, the public prosecutor’s office, the federal police, and different banks.

These meetings offered a relevant space to raise awareness regarding the need to implement IPv6, with discussions on possible actions, challenges, timelines, and other relevant topics. CGI.br contributed directly and significantly by publishing several recommendations on IPv6 deployment, including CGI.br/RES/2012/007/P, CGI.br/RES/2013/033 and CGI.br/RES/2014/008.

Obviously, NIC.br was not solely responsible for Brazil’s performance, but I like to think we helped by facilitating and encouraging the process. Those actually responsible are the professionals working with countless access providers who, aware of the need to deploy IPv6, rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to make it happen.

Brazil has the advantage of having several telephone operators offering IPv6. Would you say this is one of the pillars of this growth?

Currently Brazil has more than 5,600 Autonomous Systems. The estimated number of Internet access providers is even higher. However, the Brazilian access supply market is rather concentrated. Today, major telecommunications operators are our main Internet access providers for both fixed and mobile access and serve a considerable proportion of users. ANATEL, our telecommunications regulatory body, as well as the main operators – represented by Sinditelebrasil – actively participated in the coordination meetings promoted by NIC.br between 2011 and 2014. In 2014, ANATEL decided to draw up a timeline for seeking consensus within the sector, calling for dialogue among the operators, who made the commitment to begin gradually deploying IPv6 among users starting in 2015 and have done so. While certain regional providers pioneered early IPv6 deployment, thanks to the commitment and serious work of major Brazilian telecommunications operators and access providers, in 2015 we began to see significant growth in the indicators. The work of NET and VIVO is certainly worth noting, as they have done an excellent job of leading the deployment of IPv6. 

How has this IPv6 deployment impacted the development of the Internet and the telecommunications sector in Brazil?

I wouldn’t say there’s a causal relationship. I can’t say that this IPv6 deployment in itself has encouraged Internet development, although I do believe the two are related. Currently Brazil has more than 5,600 Autonomous Systems. In 2008 there were less than 500. Internet infrastructure is growing and maturing in the country at the same time as IPv6 awareness and deployment.Both are clearly connected. All the actions implemented by NIC.br to promote IPv6 have also addressed other issues such as security, the importance of BGP and autonomous systems, IXPs, etc. Therefore, one of contributions of IPv6 deployment was that during the IPv6 awareness and training process the technical community gained a better understanding of many issues that are very important for Internet infrastructure. 

Have Brazilian content providers started to deploy IPv6 content? Do you have any experiences in this sense?

We do. In fact, following the international trend, here in Brazil major content providers began the process of deploying IPv6 before access providers. Inspired by World IPv6 Day held on 8 June 2011, in 2012 we organized IPv6 Week, which was also supported by LACNIC and the Internet Society. The initiative took place within the framework of a major technology, innovation, entertainment and culture event held on 6-12 February 2012: Campus Party Brazil.While Telefônica (now Vivo) provided IPv6 connectivity for Campus Party participants, the main Brazilian portals, including Globo.com, Terra, UOL and iG, as well as several universities such as the University of São Paulo, enabled IPv6 on their websites. Some never disabled the v6 protocol. This was a milestone. It is also worth noting the excellent work of FEBRABAN, the association of Brazilian banks. Beginning in 2013, they created a working group to encourage IPv6 deployment in the banking sector. This has already produced good results, for example, the implementation of IPv6 on the websites of Bradesco, Banco do Brasil and Banrisul.Most government and e-commerce websites do not yet support IPv6, but some important steps are being taken, for example, government websites of the Brazilian state of Ceará have been IPv6-enabled since 2013. I believe it is only a matter of time before we see greater progress in these areas too. 

According to Google data as of February 2018, 23.6% of Brazilian users access the Internet over IPv6. According to Akamai, IPv6 traffic in Brazil is growing at an annual rate of over 50%. Based on this information, what are your growth expectations for this year?

Statistics show that in 2017 the number of users with IPv6 almost doubled. If we look at the figures for January and February, we can be optimistic and anticipate that this trend will continue in 2018, in which case we would reach the end of the year with around 40% of users connected over IPv6.However, we still need to overcome some major challenges in order to keep up with the growth of IPv6 and the Internet itself: increasing the rate of IPv6 deployment among the thousands of regional providers, mainly the smaller ones; encouraging all hosting providers, cloud services, etc. to deploy IPv6; ensuring that home Wi-Fi routers and other commercially available CPEs support IPv6; ensuring that connected devices such as televisions, security cameras, etc. support IPv6; and others. But we’re on the right track. I’m sure we’re going to make it.

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