In total, Akamai estimates that these 800+ million IPv4 addresses represent well over 1 billion unique Web users. This is a result of multiple individuals being represented by a single IPv4 address when connecting through a firewall or proxy server. On the other hand, a single user may have multiple IPv4 addresses associated with them thanks to multiple connected devices.
Unique IPv4 Addresses
The number of unique IPv4 addresses connecting to Akamai grew by roughly 10 million in the first quarter, continuing the trend witnessed in the fourth quarter of 2014. Going forward, we expect the growth rate to moderate as more carriers conserve increasingly limited IPv4 address space and expand availability of native IPv6 connectivity.
When examining year-over-year changes among the top 10 countries, Brazil saw the largest annual increase at 17% growth. Brazil's growth was followed by six other countries that also saw increases, including Japan's 11% growth down to Russia's 2.5% gain on the low end. Those countries with losses included Italy, the United States, and Germany, which saw declines of 9.3%, 6.7%, and 4.2%, respectively. These declines are likely indicative of possible changes to IP address management practices, increases in IPv6 adoption, or updates to the underlying database used by Akamai for IP address geolocation. In total, two-thirds of countries/regions around the world had IPv4 address counts increase year-over-year. Of these countries, 28 countries saw annual growth above 50%.
As Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) allocate pools of IPv4 address space to organizations within their respective territories, available IPv4 address space continues to diminish. The size of available IPv4 address pools at each RIR show a range of depletion rates. Once again, ARIN had a severe rate of depletion after delegating 3.6 million IPv4 addresses--more than 40% of its available pool. LACNIC, AFRINIC, APNIC, and RIPE had more moderate declines after handing out 9%, 7%, 6%, and 4% of their respective available pools. To date, with over 44 million addresses available, AFRINIC is the only RIR with a sizeable pool of IPv4 addresses remaining.
With a dwindling pools of IP addresses remaining, many regions are in their final phases of their plans to address IPv4 depletion. In many cases, these plans call for increasingly stringent qualifications for IPv4 address space requests.
Starting with the Third Quarter, 2013 State of the Internet Report, Akamai included IPv6 adoption insights into the report. To calculate the percentage of requests made to Akamai over IPv6, the number of content requests made over IPv6 were divided by the total number of requests to Akamai. It's important to note that only those customer Web properties that enabled Akamai edge delivery via IPv6 were measured. To qualify for inclusion, a minimum of 90 million total requests over IPv6 during the first quarter of 2015 were required.
Once again, European countries continued to dominate IPv6 adoption, taking 8 of the top 10 spots. In keeping with the previous quarter, Belgium maintained a clear lead, with a full one-third of its content requests being made over IPv6--more than double the percentage of runner-up Germany. The only two non-European countries to crack the top 10 were the United States and Peru, both of which made double-digit quarterly gains and ended with 14% and 13% adoption rates, respectively.
Overall, IPv6 traffic growth was weaker than the fourth quarter. Growth ranged from Portugal's impressive 24% leap to Belgium's modest 1.7% increase. Conversely, three countries saw declines. These ranged from Norway's 1.3% decline to Switzerland's 11% decrease.
Continuing the trend from the fourth quarter, IPv6 adoption was led by cable and wireless providers such as Verizon Wireless and Brutele--both of which had more than half of their requests to Akamai over IPv6 connections. Other leading IPv6 providers included Kabel Deutschland, Kabel BW, Unitymedia, T-Mobile, Comcast, and AT&T.
The top 20 network providers are listed below, ranked by the number of IPv6 requests made to Akamai during the first quarter of 2015.
For more insight into IPv6 adoption, head over to IPv6 Adoption Trends by Country and Network visualization or download the full [REPORT].