Google, Microsoft, Netflix May Share List of IPv6 Users

David Temkin, network engineering manager with Netflix, says he is interested in using a similar approach to Google's DNS Whitelist for IPv6.

"We're looking into the same service that Google has, where we will try to track what connectivity the user has," Temkin says. "We're in discussions with Google, Yahoo, Netflix and Microsoft to see whether it makes sense to have a shared, open source DNS whitelist service."

Temkin says a shared DNS Whitelist for IPv6 would help customers have a better experience with both its IPv6 and IPv4 services.

"There's a pretty key reason for whitelisting," Temkin explains. "It's really, really easy for anyone using, for example, Hurricane Electric's tunneling to find that the IPv6 network becomes an island and that it is broken because they didn't update a tunnel…You end up with the customer having a bad experience. They never see the content or they only see the content after a 30-second wait."

Temkin says the lack of a common DNS Whitelist for IPv6 is one reason that Netflix is providing IPv6 service via a separate Web site -- www.ipv6.netflix.com -- rather than directly through www.netflix.com.

"Whitelists are a temporary measure," Temkin acknowledges. "There are scalability issues. There are management issues. That's why we've been having discussions of how we could standardize on a whitelist"

Temkin says it's conceivable for content providers to create a shared DNS Whitelist for IPv6 in the next few months.

Both content providers and carriers say the shared DNS Whitelisting Service for IPv6 would not create privacy issues because the information contained in it would not be the names or machine identifiers of individual Internet users.

"A DNS whitelist would help us in the transition over to IPv6 because we have to know the customer has IPv6," Temkin adds.
ISPs, however, say having a DNS Whitelist for IPv6 will be time-consuming for them to maintain. They say such a list would be hard to scale because it would require them to contact every content provider to exchange information about whether they can forward quad-A DNS records.

Jason Livingood, executive director of Internet systems engineering at Comcast, says dealing with DNS whitelists is an administrative burden.

"We've noticed that there's a bit of whitelisting going on for DNS servers, and that poses some scale difficulties," Livingood says. "A number of large content providers do whitelisting…It's not entirely clear what the criteria are. Hopefully, at some point that goes away as a practice."

Livingood says the burden is on ISPs to maintain a DNS Whitelist for IPv6.

"I prefer not to have a DNS whitelisting service," Livingood says. "It will be a difficult process for the ISPs to manage. When we get the quad-A records back, we would have to choose to pass the quad-A records on to the content providers. Then we have to go to all the content sites and request to be on their whitelists."

Livingood says he was comfortable with the idea of a shared DNS Whitelist for IPv6 as long as it is a temporary measure in the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

"The DNS whitelist could work for a little while as an interim step," Livingood concedes, but he doesn't want to see it remain in the Internet infrastructure forever.

IPv6 experts view the DNS Whitelist for IPv6 as a temporary measure that will be required during the transition from IPv4 to IPv6.

"The DNS Whitelist is a workaround. It's an operational issue that's no different than we've run into with IPv4," says Yanick Pouffary, an IPv6 forum Fellow, technology director for the North American IPv6 Task Force and an HP distinguished technologist. "I don't see this as a major issue, just a natural transition issue."

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