It's World IPv6 Day: here's what you need to know

It's World IPv6 Day: here's what you need to know

Summary: A "new normal"? For some, yes.

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TOPICS: Networking
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This morning, thousands of companies and millions of websites permanently switched on the next generation of Internet Protocol, IPv6.

Among them: Google, Facebook and Yahoo, as expected, as well as ISPs in more than 100 countries and heavy hitters all over, from Akamai to Cisco to Comcast.

The Internet Society -- indeed, such a thing exists! -- this morning called the milestone a "new normal," which is slightly ominous but probably means well.

Here's what you need to know:

It's necessary, because we're running out of space. The last blocks of the 4.3 billion IP addresses enabled by the current Internet Protocol -- IPv4 -- were assigned in February 2011. Asia Pacific has already run out of room. Europe will run out this year. The U.S. will run out next year. Et cetera.

The Internet of Things depends on it. IPv6 provides more than 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses -- "an essentially unlimited number," the Internet Society reassures -- which matters when every connected home appliance and street corner will need an IP address, nevermind the billions of people still not online.

This "holiday" had to happen. We've long-known we were going to run out of addresses, but few were willing to make the first move. The best way to accomplish that? Have the most influential players do it at the same time.

The Internet will not break. See Steven Vaughan-Nichols' post on the subject.

...but the new addresses are not virgin territory anymore. If you were hoping to somehow avoid distributed denial-of-service attacks with the switch, think again.

This isn't hype; it's serious. Internet godfather Vint Cerf says it's just not technical freedom that's at stake -- it's a matter of avoiding state censorship, too.

You can test your IPv6 connectivity here. You're welcome.

Topic: Networking

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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2 comments
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  • And not only that, but QRZ is broken again!

    The World IPv6 Launch day is June 6th, 2012. Good news! Your current browser, on this computer and at this location, are expected to keep working after the Launch. [more info]

    You appear to be able to browse the IPv4 Internet only. You will not be able to reach IPv6-only sites.

    Connections to IPv4 are slow, but functional. Perhaps you or your ISP put you behind an IP sharing device (NAT) that is currently slow.

    Connections to urls with IP addresses appear to be blocked; perhaps by a web filter such as 'NoScript' or 'RequestPolicy' installed into your browser, or filtering in your proxy server. This limits some of the functionality of this test site.

    Your DNS server (possibly run by your ISP) appears to have no access to the IPv6 Internet, or is not configured to use it. This may in the future restrict your ability to reach IPv6-only sites. [more info]
    ka5s
  • it's broken

    I get that too.

    Your IPv4 address on the public Internet appears to be xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

    No IPv6 address detected [more info]

    The World IPv6 Launch day is June 6th, 2012. Good news! Your current browser, on this computer and at this location, are expected to keep working after the Launch. [more info]

    You appear to be able to browse the IPv4 Internet only. You will not be able to reach IPv6-only sites.

    Your DNS server (possibly run by your ISP) appears to have no access to the IPv6 Internet, or is not configured to use it. This may in the future restrict your ability to reach IPv6-only sites. [more info]

    Actually I use opendns.
    ThereThere