Nowadays, the IPv6 protocol is in a transition phase in operational networks. The ratio of its traffic
volume is increasing day by day. The many provided facilities for IPv6 connection increase the total IPv6
traffic load. IPv6-over-IPv4 tunnels, pilot programs to provide IPv6 connections, IPv6/IPv4 dual stack
operating systems, and free IPv6 tunnel brokers cause the IPv6 protocol to expand quickly. For efficient
resource utilization, the characteristics of network traffic should be determined accurately. Many traffic
characterization studies regarding IPv4 have demonstrated that most of the network traffic is self-similar.
Self-similarity causes significant impacts on network performance. With the increasing volume of IPv6 traffic,
the characteristics of IPv6 traffic and differences between IPv4 traffic in terms of characterization should be
In this study, we investigate the characteristics of IPv6 packet traffic and the differences between IPv6
and IPv4 packet traffic in terms of spectral density, autocorrelation, distribution, and self-similarity of packet
interarrival time and packet size. The results obviously show that IPv6 traffic exhibits totally different
properties in comparison to that of IPv4. Distribution fittings prove that packet interarrival time and packet
size have different distributions in the 2 traffic types. While beta distribution models the empirical cumulative
distribution of IPv4 packet size, log-logistic distribution gives more efficient results for IPv6 packet size.
Furthermore, a significant difference is observed in self-similarity degrees. IPv6 protocol traffic gives greater
self-similarity than that of IPv4. Results show that IPv6 traffic would cause greater performance degradations