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World IPv6 Day Tests New Global Internet Protocol

Ross O. Storey | June 8, 2011
The Internet Society coordinates the 'test flight' enabling of the IPv6 protocol for 24 hours, as IPv4 addresses run out and acknowledges the potential for 'glitches'.

Hundreds of websites and Internet service providers around the world are joining Facebook, Google, Akamai, and many others, today (8 June 2011), in the first global-scale trial of the new Internet Protocol, IPv6, being organised by the Internet Society (ISOC).

In an official announcement, ISOC said during World IPv6 Day, more than 225 participating organisations from every part of the globe will enable IPv6 on their main services for 24 hours.

The existing IPv4 currently has about four billion IP addresses (the sequence of numbers assigned to each Internet-connected device).

(See 'What you Need to Know about IPv6")

The ISOC is a Washington-based non-profit organisation, founded in 1992, to provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education and policy. It's dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.

According to ISOC, the explosion in the number of people, devices and Web services on the Internet means that IPv4 is running out of space.

Crucial test

"Given the diversity of technology that powers the Internet, the global nature of the trial is crucial to identify unforeseen problems," the Society said.

"IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol, which provides over four billion times more space, will connect the billions of people not connected today and will help ensure the Internet can continue its current growth rate," said the statement.

The Society acknowledges there may be glitches with the test run. One of the goals of World IPv6 Day is to expose potential issues under controlled conditions and address them as soon as possible.

"The vast majority of users should be able to access services as usual," the statement said.

"But, in rare cases, misconfigured or misbehaving network equipment, particularly in home networks, may impair access to participating websites during the trial. Current estimates are that 99.95 per cent of users will experience no problems connecting to Web services on IPv6 Day, and participating organisations will be working together with operating system manufacturers, home router vendors and ISPs to minimise the number of users affected."

Quick action needed

The Internet Society said it's supporting World IPv6 Day as part of its efforts to accelerate IPv6 deployment. IPv6, the successor to the protocol currently used on the Internet, was designed in the late 1990s but has not seen deployment on a global scale. With IPv4 address space running out, the industry cannot afford to wait much longer.

The Society said that, with IPv4 addresses running out this year, the industry must act quickly to accelerate full IPv6 adoption or risk increased costs and limited functionality online for Internet users everywhere.

"World IPv6 Day participants are coming together to help motivate organisations across the industry-Internet service providers, hardware manufacturers, operating system vendors and other Web companies-to prepare their services for the transition," the statement said.


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