Networking and Security

Networking and Security Research Group

Surveying the State of IPv6 Deployment in Australia and China


The size of the allocated IPv4 address space relative to the population size helps explaining the differences in IPv6 adoption approaches between Australia and China. Australia has an allocation of about 47.6 million IPv4 addresses. With a population of roughly 22 million people that is about 2160 IPv4 addresses per 1000 citizens. China has a much larger allocation of 330.3 million IPv4 addresses, but given its population exceeds 1.3 billion people, this means there is only about 250 IPv4 addresses for 1000 citizens in China.

China has far more citizens than it has allocated IPv4 addresses, so the transition to IPv6 has been very important for China from the beginning. In August 2003, the State Council of China officially authorised the launch of the China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) project. The project was part of China’s five year plan and its goal was to build nationwide commercialised IPv6-enabled backbones and access networks to provide commercial IPv6 access services for network users. Almost all major ISPs in China participated in this program. Under the CNGI project, IPv6 backbone networks were extended to over 22 major cities and more than 270 access networks were connected to the backbone [6]. The Chinese government also took a lead in planning and deploying IPv6 infrastructure in public-facing infrastructure (e-government).

The CNGI initiative basically mandated IPv6 to the industry. In 2014 it was reported that Chinese carriers claimed to have implemented full IPv6 deployment and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China announced “it will continue to promote the Internet sector's adoption of IPv6 with an investment of over CNY20 billion” [7].

While in China the state-initiative has driven IPv6 deployment in most ISPs, in Australia the development has been more muted. The Australian government developed an initial strategy for implementing IPv6 in government agencies in 2007 (version 2 released in 2009) [8] and in 2013 it was determined that “the agencies were well advanced in their transition” and that “the majority of the work within agency systems is now completed” [9]. In Australia IPv6 trials were launched by several organisations early on and the national research network (AARNET) deployed IPv6 in 2006 [10]. However, in 2016 there are still not many ISPs that have fully implemented IPv6 and offer it to all customers. It appears the larger number of available IPv4 addresses per capita has made the transition less urgent in Australia.

Authors: Dr Sebastian Zander e-mail: | Dr Xuequn (Alex) Wang e-mail: | web page by Rafael Da Costa

This project is supported by a grant from the Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia). This project is done in collaboration with APNIC Pty Ltd.