IPv6 roll-out on Jio. source:APNIC

Reliance Jio, the new entrant to India’s telecom landscape, is carrying nearly 80% of its traffic in the next-generation Internet technology, a senior official of the company said.

Internet Protocol or IP is one of the languages used by machines to talk to each other. All machines on the Internet use this language to ‘talk’ to each other.

The most prevalent version of internet protocol in use today is version 4, also known as IP version 4 or IPv4. This was designed in 1981, when the Internet was still in its infancy and confined to the academia and universities.

When IPv4 was designed, there was no expectation that at one time, the Internet would be used to connect all the appliances, or phones or even the homes on the planet one day. To address these challenges, IPv6 was designed as a upgrade in the 1990s.

However, adoption has been slow, and no telecom network before Reliance Jio was assigning IPv6 addresses to devices. Even today, Reliance Jio remains the only operator to give users IPv6 addresses in India.

At the beginning of 2016, only 1% of Internet users in India were on IPv6-enabled networks, said Molay Ghosh, who works in the IP Architecture and Technology division of Reliance Jio.

Jio’s deployment has been accompanied by a huge increase in both the number of people on the newer technology as well as the total traffic it carries.

“Currently, almost 90% of our LTE 4G subscribers are using IPv6 – accounting for almost 70% of the country’s IPv6 traffic – which in itself has equated to a rapid rise in India’s total IPv6 capabilities, increasing from 1% to 16% in 2016 (and passing 20% in the new year),” he said.

IPv6 is supposed to be less taxing on routers — the stripped down computers that act as traffic controllers on the Internet, especially in times of heavy traffic.

These efficiencies are crucial for Jio, which is reported to be carrying 94% of India’s total wireless data traffic, according to a recent report.

“Our major content partners — Google, Akamai, and Facebook — provide their content on our network only on IPv6, which accounts for 80% of our total traffic,” Molay said.

Today, he said, almost 90% of the company’s 4G subscribers, are connected via IPv6, “even our VoLTE stack and IMS, work on IPv6,” he added.

While other telecom networks still work on IPv4, RJio’s entire infrastructure, including its base stations and core network, support both IPv4 and IPv6.

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