Dynamic DNS and what it has to do with IPv6 and the NO-IP outage

For many years there have been a number of Dynamic DNS providers offering various paid and free services to the community. Some companies like DynamicDNS have parlayed these into a larger commercial offerings of DNS services (now they are called Dyn) .

Why do end-users need dynamic DNS services? The key reason has been the fact that IP addresses changed often enough one would not want to manually manage DNS settings as they could take 24 hours or more to update.

Since the late 1990s there have been many changes under the hood with the internet and its protocols including DNS. The ability for DNS Notifies to be sent so all the DNS servers are in sync. The reliability of the networks involved has skyrocketed to be utilitarian in function. (My home network stays up even if the power is out, all the way to the public internet).

Marketers have taken advantage of this, with internet connected devices from video cameras to phones and even telepresence robots. You can use your internet connected security system or nanny cameras to check on the welfare of aging family members.

These devices either need to phone-home to a central service or provide you a way to interact with them directly over the internet. Here’s where DDNS providers come into play, many of them are embedded into device firmware. Why is this necessary? Partly due to the changing IPs that may happen as part of your internet service. Many people don’t want to pay for a fixed IP address so instead use free services.

Much of this is rooted in the slowly growing “IPv4 run-out”, but there’s a related issue which is the lack of IPv6 support. This is a broad and complex issue since there are many moving parts. There is no clear demand for IPv6 as the existing internet “works just fine”, so why should investments be made? The IPv4 internet is not going away any time soon and many devices are not yet IPv6 ready.

While at my home I have business class service and static IPs, there are many people where that is not feasible to obtain. With the noip.com situation still unfolding, the most interesting stories for me are how people use security camera systems to check on elderly and mentally ill family members. I still view the internet as a bit more unreliable than others, this is a use case I had not thought about. If these homes had proper IPv6 services, it would perhaps mitigate the need for both the DDNS provider being involved and the subsequent abuse and outage of these services regardless of the cause.

It also reminds me having a proper backup plan is critical. Internet operators make efforts to provide a stable and reliable service, when it fails what is your plan B? While an uncomfortable question, when technology fails you from your phone, GPS or internet mapping service is the impact minor or major?

Here’s hoping that IPv6 will properly flourish to reduce the general public dependency upon DDNS providers and managing ones home full of IP connected devices.

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