Empirical Study of Router IPv6 Interface Address Distributions

Justin Rohrer, Blake LaFever, and Robert Beverly
IEEE Internet Computing (Special Issue on Measuring the Internet),
July/August 2016 (to appear).

IPv6 is an important component of the Internet's continued growth and evolution. By several metrics, the IPv6 Internet has grown exponentially and now carries non-trivial amounts of production traffic. Less well-understood, however, is the IPv6 topology and the way in which providers are utilizing their IPv6 address allocations. Rather than relying on passive measurements or heuristics, which can bias inferences, we instead utilize uniform active probing. We execute ICMP-Paris traceroute probes to an address in each /48 in all /32's advertised in the global IPv6 routing table (approximately 400M traces from 26 globally distributed vantage points). At this granularity, we characterize the distribution of IPv6 interface addresses in the wild, and find significant differences among providers and regions. By providing insight into the structure of the current IPv6 Internet router interface addressing, our hope is to better inform efforts to design future intelligent active IPv6 topology mapping algorithms and systems.

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