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IPv6 launch day raises awareness for web protocol

Jennifer Scott

The Internet Society today sends the message around the world that it is time to embrace IPv6.

A number of high-profile technology companies will turn on the protocol and make the permanent transition from IPv4.

“Major internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers and web companies around the world are coming together to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services by 6 June 2012,” said a statement from The Internet Society.

“World IPv6 launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6. As the successor to the current internet protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the internet's continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development.”

The previous web protocol has run out of space for new IP addresses as the remainder of its approximate four billion addresses were snapped up in the past year with the increase of internet-connected devices and growth of websites.

Last year, the organisation organised a test day to allow big websites to turn on IPv6 and test what it would do to their traffic and network.

As such, large firms such as Facebook, Google and Cisco are joined by home equipment manufacturers such as D-Link to embrace the standard, making both websites and equipment ready for IPv6.

“The move to IPV6 stands to benefit business users in the future as it will offer improved performance and security,” said Andrew Mulholland, business solutions manager at D-Link UK & Ireland. “At the same time it is clear that this change won’t happen overnight and businesses will need to consider their migration path to IPv6.”

“Ultimately, all devices on the network will need to be IPv6-compliant to communicate with each other and allow access to users from IPv6 addresses. Starting to make preparations now can remove the headache and cost for businesses of replacing the whole network in one go in the future.”

Mark Townsley, Cisco Fellow, revealed in a conference this morning the larger websites have agreed with service providers to track the traffic to their websites over the next few days and identify which networks and protocols they come from, offering better visibility as to how the launch has gone.

“Even back in the year 2000, we had roughly half a billion devices connected to the internet. The numbers of addresses in the global routing table was one billion. We now have surpassed the number of addresses with the number of devices at a 2:1 ratio,” he said.

“The ability to go out and grab that IPv4 address wherever you want has become impossible. We want to work on other innovative things rather than patch up IPv4, so it is about moving routing to IPv6 – this is our fuel for our genetic expansion.”

Cisco, among others, is offering support and is ready for any issues arising from the switch-on.

For more information on the transition and how to get involved visit the world IPv6 launch day website here.


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