LinkedIn Passes IPv6 Milestone

July 25, 2017

Earlier this month, and for the first time in our company’s history, more than 50% of pages on LinkedIn were accessed over IPv6 from mobile devices in the U.S. This is another step in the internet community’s long migration to IPv6 from IPv4, which we have written about previously.

Since we enabled IPv6 on our mail servers in 2013 and then on our web site in 2014, we have seen increased growth of our external IPv6 traffic. We are currently working on enabling IPv6 on our all of our internal networks and applications in order to begin removing IPv4 internally, beginning in 2018. The external network and public services will still support IPv4 (for compatibility with legacy clients) for years to come, but we anticipate the proportion of our external traffic served over IPv6 to only increase. The community has seen tangible benefits from serving content over IPv6 compared to IPv4. We, too, see some performance improvements on IPv6.

Global trackers of IPv6 adoption, including the APNIC IPv6 Stats site and Google IPv6 Stats, have reported growth in IPv6 capability in many countries. The data shows that North America and Europe are significantly IPv6-capable. Additionally, the volume of IPv6 traffic is significant globally, and even more so from mobile platforms, especially in the U.S. Many U.S. mobile providers have decided to deploy their devices on IPv6-only networks with IPv6 to IPv4 gateways at the edge (instead of IPv4 NATs of NATs, aka CGNAT). This deployment is reflected by the percentage of page views we receive over IPv6 in the U.S. The same data on country-by-country adoption also shows that the percentage of IPv6 traffic is higher on the weekends. We see this trend with our services as well.

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Percentage of page views over IPv6 for LinkedIn over the last two months

We have been very close to exceeding the 50% mark for page views over IPv6 on mobile in the U.S., and on Saturday, July 8, we saw for the first time that 50.3% of our page views on mobile in the U.S. were served over IPv6. We are very close to reaching 50% in the U.S. across all devices (mobile and desktop). On that same day, 23.1% of our page views were served over IPv6 to mobile devices globally, and 22.17% to all devices.

Facebook and Akamai have previously reported that they passed the 50% mark for mobile in the U.S. in terms of traffic. We are seeing similar results, most notably the constant growth of IPv6 traffic. It took us a bit longer to see the same results as our membership is slightly different, and likely includes more professionals visiting our site from company networks.

The growth of IPv6 has been significant in the last year or so. Today, any organization that has not yet embraced IPv6 is likely to be at a real disadvantage. Fear not; there is a lot of information available on how to make a successful transition to IPv6. The Deploy360 Initiative of the Internet Society is a good way to start, and you can also read our own engineering blog posts on the subject.