Top Electronics and IPv6

In lots of presentations I've talked about the three-legged stool of the industry: ISPs, content, and consumer electronics. I recently compared the level of deployment by ISPs and content, and found that ISPs are slightly behind but growing fast, while content is ahead but stagnant. What about home electronics?

There's a reason we don't see web pages detailing the state of IPv6 among consumer electronics: it's hard. For instance:

  • There's no single page listing top-selling electronics.
  • Once sold, it's hard to track how many are in use.
  • Networked electronics aren't necessarily web-enabled.
  • Documentation of whether a device supports IPv6 is really scanty.

However, this is an important sector, so let's see if we can come to a first approximation. Here's a truncated list of Amazon's top sellers in Electronics (truncated because I don't list each individual model of the Kindle, for example):

Device IPv6 Support?
Google Chromecast Yes
Kindle (various models) No
Google Nexus Yes
Apple TV Yes
Roku No
Samsung Galaxy Yes
Sony Blu-ray Broken
Motorola SurfBoard Yes
Medialink Wireless Router No

One major failing of the list above is that I'm guessing at whether they support IPv6, based on inferences from support forums. Almost none of these devices lists IPv6 in their online documentation. If they did, I'd provide links. (If you find links confirming support, one way or another, Tweet me @wleecoyote so I can update this list).

So that's Amazon's best sellers. Here's a selection of other devices that might matter, chosen by no particular algorithm:

Device IPv6 Support?
Xbox One Yes
Xbox 360 No
Sony PS4 Unknown
Sony PS3 No
Samsung Smart TV Yes?
Android Devices No DNS
iOS Devices Mostly

One point of hope: The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association, the folks who bring you CES) have an IPv6 working group. No word on how that will affect or has affected support yet.

In summary, the state of IPv6 support in consumer electronics is middling. Some, but nowhere near all, new devices have IPv6 support. Even those that do sometimes have partial or broken support. For most electronics, a web search for "IPv6 (device name)" tells you how to disable IPv6, or finds a forum where people argue that you don't need IPv6.

Why does IPv6 matter in the home anyway? Probably a topic for another blog post, but in short: 1) connections work better without NAT, 2) as unused IPv4 addresses become scarcer IPv4 will become more expensive. Nobody wants the cost of Internet services to rise.

Lee Howard
22 November 2013
@WLeeCoyote