IPv6 Success Stories Multiply Across the Region
Organizations across the region are increasing their IPv6 announcements to accelerate Internet growth after IPv4 address exhaustion. Megacable of Mexico is one of the region’s top ASNs in terms of prefix announcements.
With a remarkable evolution of IPv6 penetration statistics in their autonomous system, Megacable is an IPv6 success story in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Interviewed by LACNIC News, Jorge Humberto Perez Pasillas, IP Services and Project Manager at Megacable, highlighted the strategy they have implemented to deploy IPv6 while offering services to users who still rely on the previous version of the protocol.
What was Megacable’s strategy to successfully deploy IPv6 in Mexico?
Service providers have been applying various strategies to gradually transition to IPv6 in both Mexico and other countries of Latin America.
We at Megacable have established a strategy that allows us to deploy IPv6 as quickly as possible, one that will allow us to simultaneously support network terminals and user devices that are not IPv6-enabled (IPv4-only devices) as well as those that are natively capable of supporting IPv6 and IPv4 (depending on CDN requests and which content providers are queried). Likewise, based on a cost-benefit analysis, we have also deployed “dual-stack” technology in our networks to offer IPv6 support.
The reason we opted for dual stack is that it guarantees that the deployment will be as transparent as possible.
In addition, for several years now it has been a requirement that all purchased equipment must be IPv6-compatible. This has allowed our subscriber base the possibility of accessing content via IPv6 when their computers, mobiles or smart devices support the protocol. However, we still have a base of IPv4 terminal devices which we are replacing year after year with the new generation of equipment that enables IPv6 traffic.
Megacable is considered one of the leading companies in the Mexican telecommunications market, so it has a great responsibility and contributes significantly to the technological development of the country by providing access and Internet connectivity in Mexico. The company is also strongly committed to the quality of service and customer experience of our clients, which leads us to conduct extensive analyses in each of the stages we go through with our technology provider partners leading up to the implementation of the selected strategy.
What percentage of the company’s total resources are being announced via IPv6?
We have currently announced 411 prefixes to the Internet. We do not like to speak in terms of percentages, as part of the global addressing which we have been assigned is being used for the administrative processing of our devices and those resources are not published to the Internet. Our dual-stack infrastructure includes the core network, the access network and the applications involved in the provision of services, which has been essential in the deployment.
How have you been able to maintain and even accelerate your IPv6 deployment plans during the COVID pandemic?
The pandemic changed the way we conduct all areas of our activities. As expected, the confinement increased the use of the Internet as a means for social interaction, entertainment, education and telecommuting. In many cases, this was reflected in an increase in productivity.
During this stage, Megacable understands that Internet access is key and therefore it was essential to increase infrastructure capacity by integrating IPv6 deployment, which already plays a strategic role in extending IP addressing now that IPv4 has been exhausted. This was not easy, so we doubled our efforts to generate and accelerate this growth in Megacable’s network. Increasing our IPv6 deployment has allowed us an efficient use of our resources. During the pandemic, as traffic grew, we realized that we had to increase the participation of IPv6 in our networks, as this would allow us to lower our costs, mainly in CGNAT technologies.
Given the imminent exhaustion of available IPv4 resources in the region, do you believe that IPv6 is the only viable alternative for Internet development?
IPv4 exhaustion is definitely a deciding factor for transitioning to IPv6. IPv6 is a long-term change, as not all Internet content is available via this protocol, so it must be complemented with strategies that allow us to continue to maintain connectivity and compatibility with content or applications that have not transitioned to IPv6. This means that we still depend on IPv4.
In your opinion, are operators aware of the opportunities that IPv6 can present?
Each operator is aware of its infrastructure and their limitations. Even when there are technologies to transition to IPv6, these have a significant economic cost and an impact on investment plans. Not transitioning translates into experience or quality of service issues perceived by end users. Being prepared to transition to IPv6 using the methods most appropriate for each operator can result in long-term economic savings (given the costs of CGNATs and the acquisition of IPv4 addresses on the market via brokers or third parties). Therefore, deciding when to start or at what pace to more forward can become an important factor to achieve an optimal operation and offer a quality service with the best possible experience for users or subscribers of Multiple Service Operators.