Happy IPv6 Day!

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google, Facebook, and hundreds of other internet companies will today take part in the first worldwide test of IPV6.

As the world runs out of IP addresses, Internet Protocol Version 6 should expand the number from its present 4.3 billion addresses, almost all of which have been used. IPV6 will offer millions of times as many.

"The goal of the Test Flight Day is to motivate organizations across the industry – 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," says organizer the Internet Society.

Today, more than 400 organizations including some of the world's largest websites will enable IPv6 across their servers for a 24-hour 'test run' to identify the scale of any problems. Network equipment vendors such as Cisco Systems will also take part.

"The vast majority of internet users will not see anything different on 8th June," says Sebastien Lahtinen, co-founder of thinkbroadband.com. "Most of the time we type in addresses like www.facebook.com into a web browser, and our computer and the Domain Name System (DNS) takes care of converting this into an IP address, so we don't have to remember IP addresses themselves." he adds.

Some users - about one in every 200 - may be using combinations of systems which could experience problems through having IPv4 and IPv6 running simultaneously. This matters, as the plan is to run the two protocols alongside one another for several years.

"Some people may find Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing and other participating websites slow or unresponsive on World IPv6 Day," says Lorenzo Colitti, Google network engineer and IPv6 samurai (yes, really).

"This is often due to misconfigured or misbehaving home networking equipment, such as home routers, that can make a computer think it has IPv6 connectivity when in fact it’s not working."

You can find out how your own system's bearing up, here.