June 8 2011 is to be World IPv6 Day in an attempt to publicise the need to support the new internet addressing scheme, or watch the internet run out of addresses.
Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks are among some of the major organisations that will offer their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour "test drive".
The Internet Society, which is sponsoring the day, said goal is to encourage internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out, expected by June this year.
Internet pioneer Vint Cerf told Computer Weekly that the switch to IPv6 was one of the three crises facing the internet. Unless the world switched to the new addressing scheme, or at least enabled the two to run in parallel, the hitherto seamless world of the internet would develop separately, he said.
With IPv4 addresses expected to run out in 2011, only 0.2% of Internet users have native IPv6 connectivity, Google said in a blogpost announcing its involvement.
Google has been supporting IPv6 since early 2008, when it first began offering search over IPv6. Since then it has added IPv6 support to YouTube and has been helping ISPs to enable Google over IPv6 by default for their users.
Google network engineer Lorenzo Colitti said World IPv6 Day was a crucial phase in the transition, because while IPv6 is widely deployed in many networks, it has not been used at such a large scale before.
"We hope that by working together with a common focus, we can help the industry prepare for the new protocol, find and resolve any unexpected issues, and pave the way for global deployment," he blogged.
In rare cases users may experience connectivity problems, likely due to misconfigured or misbehaving home network devices, he said. The industry would be working to iron out such problems to ensure a seamless online experience, and to enable the "internet of things" to emerge.