We’ve all heard of the the exponential growth of the Internet. It’s been one of the fastest adopted technologies the world has ever seen. Here’s a plot of the numbers of Internet users globally over time. Currently the total doubles roughly every five years or so, e.g. one billion users in 2006, two billion in 2011. (Internet World Stats.)
Given the percentage of IPv6 users is only about 0.7% – in world population terms about 17 million people – it’s easy to see why IPv6 growth estimates are usually gloomy.
But the Google IPv6 adoption graph suggests a different story. On the right I’ve plotted the native IPv6 percentages from the Google graph for once a week. From mid-2010 to mid-2011 the percentage doubled, from about 0.15% to 0.30%. That’s a doubling time of around one year, and at that rate it would take till mid-2018 to get to over 20%.
But look again: since mid-2011 the uptake is much faster and is still accelerating. By mid-2012, usage is over 0.7%. If it continues at this rate it will be over 1% by the end of the year, and around 20% in 2016 … just four years from now.
You call Internet user growth an exponential? This is an exponential! And looking at it another way: in 1996, there were only 17 million people in the entire world using the Internet ….