[UPDATE June 2016]: Netflix have blocked all HE IPv6 tunnels. Deploying IPv6 via HE’s tunnel mechanism will actually now break even the most legitimate of configurations from any country.
There’s been a lot of talk (and action) as of late as Netflix starts crumbling under the irrational demands of the content owners. It seems it’s no longer acceptable to view content from behind the IP of a node that’s known to obscure the true location of the endpoint (i.e. a VPN or proxy).
Well, there’s another way around it, and I’ve been doing it since Netflix launched in Australia last March. I’ve been using an IPv6 broker tunnel – which enables my network to view all of the world’s content on offer over IPv6. It just so happens that the IPv6 implementation is so solid, that it works on a PC that isn’t even running IPv4.
Most ISPs outside of the USA don’t offer native IPv6. It’s slowly improving, but nowhere near there yet. That’s why some internet backbone providers such as Hurricane Electric have free IPv6 tunnel servers to help people adopt to the new standard.
Here’s why an IPv6 solution works better than a VPN:
- It’s faster. Hurricane Electric are one of the internet heavyweights. Their network is amazingly fast… like, you could route a whole country through it.
- It’s completely free. Hurricane Electric survive by other means, and it’s not in their interests to monetise their IPv6 tunnels. Hell, they even sent me a free t-shirt after I ran my setup through their certification.
- Netflix are unlikely to block it. Netflix are clearly on the forefront of IPv6 adoption, and all of the big tech companies are pushing for accelerated adoption. There’s a perfectly legitimate reason to be running an IPv6 tunnel, especially from within your own country. They could technically block most of the world’s IPv6 tunnels by filtering a small handful of prefixes, but the fallout would be catastrophic. [Update June 2016: They blocked it anyway]
- The endpoints are conveniently placed. Mostly in US and EU.
- You get your own IP address. Well, technically a pool of 1.2×10²⁴ IP addresses. IPv6 is pretty cool like that.
- You should be jumping aboard the IPv6 train anyway. The world will benefit from it, and you might learn something along the way.
Once you enable IPv6, you’ll also find that other sites such as Google, Facebook and Youtube are using it too. You’ll get around YouTube’s silly geoblocks as well. Another nice touch is that you’ll also get a free IPv4 dynamic DNS service (something very few companies still do for free) if you use their IPv6 tunnel.
If you’re on IPv6, you’re viewing this page over an HE IPv6 tunnel right now.
[UPDATE 2016-05-28] If you get the occasional “proxy detected” error, that’s because Netflix has noticed that you’re reachable over two IP addresses (IPv4 and IPv6) and they’re geolocating to two different countries. If this happens, disable IPv4 on your Netflix client. I’ve found the error doesn’t happen all that often anyway.