Carsten Strotmann

The RIPE-javik logs: Day 4 - Part 1

Our coverage of Day 4 of RIPE78 has been divided into two parts.

carsten@menandmice:~$ cat ~/ripe/ripejavik-day4.txt | blog-publish

Day 4 of RIPE 78 was so jam-packed, we had to split it in two. Here’s Part 1!

IPv6 Working Group

Day 4 of RIPE78 started with the IPv6 working group. Geoff Huston discussed his measurement engine that focuses on using "ads" delivered to browsers in order to look into the reliability of IPv6 connections. While the IPv6 failure rate has gone down since early 2017 with 4%, it is now at 1.4%. Somewhat better, but still pretty bad.

Geoff found out that mobile networks deploying 464XLAT usually have more stable and reliable IPv6, than others using NAT64/DNS64 or other stateful IPv4-to-IPv6 translation mechanisms. IPv6 reliability appears to be exceptionally bad in Vietnam with a 6-10% failure rate.

Because of the Happy Eyeballs implementations in browsers, end users possibly don't notice the breakage except for a slight delay in establishing the connection. This is both good and bad: while the users are shielded from experiencing the issues in their ISP’s networks, the provider is also not incentivized to fix the issues. (As “it works”). Other countries with non-optimal IPv6 networks are Panama, Venezuela, Morocco, Bangladesh, and Turkey. Even China, with its experience in IPv6 networking, has a higher than average failure rate.

Another artifact Geoff found during his research is the fact that some networks route their IPv6 traffic differently (and often worse) than the IPv4 traffic. At some point between November 2016 and December 2016, all IPv6 traffic from and to India was routed via networks in Great Britain.

In the next talk, Enno Rey and Christopher Werny from ENRW shared their experience with IPv6 on WiFi hotspots. They are working on a project to provide IPv6 on up to 3,000 wifi hotspots in supermarkets and shopping malls all across Europe. After their evaluation of IPv6 support in common applications used by customers of these hotspots, they decided to deploy IPv6-only with NAT64/DNS64. (WLAN 100% IPv6, IPv6 to IPv4 translation at the gateway to the Internet.)

MulticastDNS and other multicast IPv6 communication are a problem for wireless networks, as the access point needs to distribute the multicast message to all clients in range, and needs to use the oldest WiFi protocol to be able to reach legacy clients. Using the older wifi protocols blocks the air for other traffic for a longer time. Enno and Christopher recommend tuning and throttling multicast traffic in IPv6 enabled WiFi networks to minimize this effect. The IETF is aware of the issues and is working on adjustments to the IPv6 protocol family to make IPv6 more WiFi-friendly.


Over in the IoT working-group, Jan Zorz reported on his attempt to build a "smart home" and gave insight into his design choices. Being an engineer, and also because of privacy concerns, he does not want to use "off the shelf" smart home devices that send sensitive data into the cloud and whose functionality is dictated by the vendor.

So Jan started to build his own smart devices. As the central management hub, he first started his experiments with a Raspberry Pi, but will switch to a more powerful 64bit x86 desktop mini-PC for production. Jan reported that he did not initially really know what he wanted and would expect from a "smart home" system: that insight developed over time while experimenting with different smart devices.

He encourages everyone to do some experimentation before deciding on a particular smart home technology. If you want to hear about the differences between Z-Wave vs. Zigbee, or which home automation software might be the best, have a look at the video recording of his talk.

Next up on the stage was Jelte Janssen from SIDN Labs talking about the SPIN ("Security and Privacy for In-home Networks”) project. The project is developing software tools that help end users to get insight into the network communication of IoT devices in the home and enable the user to better protect the home network. One tool from the SPIN project is the traffic monitor that shows DNS queries and data traffic in the local network, showing graphically to whom the IoT devices talk.

The goal is to get the SPIN tools in the default install of CPE (customer premise equipment, such as home routers) devices. In the same talk, Peter Steinhäuser from Swiss CPE Firmware developer Embedd reported on his company’s work on integrating SPIN in OpenWRT (a popular open source home router firmware based on Linux).

SIDN Labs has installation instructions for people who would like to test-drive SPIN on their existing OpenWRT based routers. Please note that SPIN is still in development and has some rough edges. However, the project would be happy to get feedback (and pull requests) from actual users.

Part 2 coming soon

Watch this space for the second part of our day 4 coverage on RIPE 78.