What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

Summary: Tomorrow, June 8th, 2011, is World IPv6 Day, and Facebook, Google and Yahoo are all joining in. Here's what that means and what will it mean for you.

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TOPICS: Telcos, Networking
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While you've been asleep in your beds with visions of iPad 2s dancing in your heads, network administrators have been wide awake getting ready for World IPv6 Day. And, what's that?

As the The Internet Society explained, "The goal of the Test Drive Day is to motivate organizations across the industry - Internet service providers [ISP], hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies - to prepare their services for IPv6 [Internet Protocol version 6) o ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out."

Well, they've been motivated all right. Facebook, Google, and Yahoo! and important content delivery network (CDN) providers, including Akamai and Limelight Network will be offering IPv6 networking as well as the usual IPv4 on June 8, 2011.

We've been running out of IPv4 addresses for some time on the Internet, but few sites already offer their services via the next generation of Internet addresses, IPv6. Despite the fact that we're now down to the last few IP addresses, indeed Asia is already out, of major sites, only some of Google's sites; Netflix, to a degree; Germany's Heise Online; Facebook at www.v6.facebook.com; and Limelight currently offer IPv6 addressing on a regular basis.

So it is that The Internet Society and others decided to star World IPv6 day. It's both a way to encourage ISPs, CDNs, and Web sites to start moving to IPv6 and to see what, if anything goes wrong when they try to support both TCP/IP networking protocols at once.

As the Internet Society explained, "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, but in rare cases, mis-configured or misbehaving network equipment, particularly in home networks, may impair access to participating websites during the trial. Current estimates are that 0.05% of users may experience such problems, but participating organizations will be working together with operating system manufacturers, home router vendors and ISPs to minimize the number of users affected. Participants will also be working together to provide tools to detect problems and offer suggested fixes in advance of the trial."

One network administrator told me, "If June 8 comes and passes and there is zero increase in IPv6 traffic but also zero breakage for IPv4-only customers, I'd call it a raging success."

He's right. With any luck at all, those of you who are usually regular old run-of-the-mill Internet connections won't notice a thing.

On the other hand, if you have an IPv6 connection, and you want to use it for more than just a handful of sites, tomorrow is the day for you.

One easy way to check out your connection, and how the sites participating in World IPv6 Day are doing is with the Réseaux IP Européens' (RIPE, French for "European IP Networks") IPv6 Eye Chart. This site will let you know, whether you're running IPv4 or IPv6, if your PC will have any trouble connecting to the sites using dual-stack IPv4/IPv6 networking.

According to RIPE, "When you visit the IPv6 eye chart, you test your connectivity to dual-stacked websites and a selection of World IPv6 Day participants. If you encounter problems with accessing dual-stacked websites, you will likely also have problems on World IPv6 Day accessing sites run by big content providers, like Google, Yahoo and Facebook. The eye chart will detect potential problems and provides a short list of things a user can try to fix potential problems."

Technically, what happens when you visit the eye chart is that you "Web browser will attempt to fetch a single image. If it does this within 10 seconds, a green check-mark will be displayed. If the fetching fails, a red cross will be displayed."

If something does go wrong, you can find a list of most common way to fix problems with dual-stacked Web sites at the American Registry for Internet Numbers' (ARIN) IPv6 Customer Problems site. If you're a Windows 7 user, there's already a specific fix for connecting to dual-stacked IPv4/IPv6 networks that you should check out, Resolving Internet connectivity issues on World IPv6 Day (June 8, 2011).

Here's hoping that none of you have any trouble and that the World IPv6 Day passes by uneventfully and thus successfully.

Related Stories:

World of Warcraft to go IPv6

OpenDNS offers IPv6 Internet DNS services

What works, and what doesn’t work, with IPv6

Who has, and who doesn’t have, IPv6 Support

Topics: Telcos, Networking

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33 comments
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  • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

    Should be very interesting to see what comes out on that.
    total-privacy.no.tc
    ZogWee
    • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

      @ZogWee I am glad that the big companies have concealed rivalry and did something constructive together. Internet, in my opinion is the best invention. <a href="http://www.carrental-coupons.org">Car Rental Coupons</a> | <a href="http://www.crearesiteweb.net/">Creare Site</a>
      karismasand07
      • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

        @karismasand07 I think you're right when you say the internet is the best invention of our time. Probably will be as pleased when they will invent the teleportation. <a href="http://www.zuarticles.com">Submit Articles</a>
        kuntakinte77
  • So Asia has run out of IP addresses and hasn't dropped

    off the internet? What? You mean this whole IPv4 running out of addresses fright-fest might simply be hysterics? No. It can't be.
    fr_gough
  • No it dosen't matter.

    As long as none of the local ISPs have any plans to bring in IPv6 any time soon.
    cym104
  • Really surprised and proud of you Steven

    You managed to not Linux it up or open source up this post.
    Mr. Dee
  • I hate to break it to you

    "We?ve been running out of IPv4 addresses for some time on the Internet, "

    We ran out of IP address's in like 1998. Which is why we invented classes of routing. Most people in their homes are running a Class D network. This is a 192.168.1.# netwoking address and switching to IPv6 is absolutley and completely pointless. The only people needing to be concerned about this are ISPs. Having an international IPv6 day is a total waste of time.

    This is esp relevent when you consider that 90% of home routers now can with little or no issue at all translate IPv4 to IPv6. But you try and explain to someone the difference and you will watch their eyes glaze over faster than cop chasing a speeder.

    IPv4 (32-bit binary)
    255.255.255.255

    IPv6 (128-bit hex)
    2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334

    yeah good luck supporting that.
    talamakara
    • No we didn't run out in 1998

      @talamakara Not all class A addresses have been assigned.
      And since that is true we did not run out of IPv4 either then or now.. We would have run out if we didn't have NATs and subnets as you suggest. But when all class A's are gone there's only so much that can be done.
      DevGuy_z
    • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

      @talamakara
      First off, 192.168.1.* is a Class C address. Class D is Multicast addresses.

      Second, IPv6 is 128-bit binary displayed as a Hexadecimal number.

      The big problem with IPv6 is that almost all home routers do not know what IPv6 is. Custom firmwares like DD-WRT will allow some of them to use v6, but none of the standard firmware with the exception of a couple of Netgear's products.

      To me this seems really odd. All of the major operating systems have had some form of support since y2k. And the Core of the internet has been ready for just about as long. The ISPs and home router manufacturers need to step up their game now and that is what IPv6 day is all about. The need to go to IPv6 over ISP level NAT.
      dahlellama
      • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

        @dahlellama

        NAT shouldn't be necessary at all. I can hardly wait until it's gone. I only partially blame the router makers. Cisco and HP's CUSTOMERS, Comcast and AT&T and SureWest, etc. have been at best disinterested in IPv6.
        tkejlboom
      • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

        @dahlellama has hit the nail on the head. For every web server using an IP address there are hundreds of home users using an IP address.

        The only solution is for home users to switch to IP V6 - and for that we need the home router manufacturers such as Linksys, Dlink and Netgear to offer IPV6 routers, for the Internet backbone and all the ISPs to make the switch, and for ISPs to offer incentives for home users to make the switch. And that probably means that the Internet backbone needs to offer incentives to ISPs - or disincentives to IP V4 as an alternative.

        Until that happens, the organisers of IP V6 Day are just spitting in the wind.

        P
        Protopia
    • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

      @talamakara

      A. NAT breaks things
      B. NAT is SLOW.
      C. I have two shirts, one says, "There's no place like 127.0.0.1" and the other says, "There's no place like ::1". The exact same number of people don't get either one.
      D. IPv4 tunneling/translation is not easy obvious or without potential hazard. It's part of what they're testing. IPv4 is stupid and should go away as soon as possible.
      tkejlboom
    • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

      Gentlemen

      "...there's only so much that can be done. "
      As I said this is where it's the ISPs problem and the major amount of public people have no need or care about this.

      "The big problem with IPv6 is that almost all home routers do not know what IPv6 is. "

      Your actually wrong on that. The firs router I ever bought that was capable od ipv6 to ipv4 conversion was in 2005, pardon me if i don't remember the number of that one, but everything i've had since has been capable of doing it without DD-WRT. (The ones i can remember wtr300n, wrt330n, wrt600n, wrt610, e3000, e4200) and everyone one with base software was able to convert. So you are wrong on saying most home routers can't.

      ""There's no place like 127.0.0.1" and the other says, "There's no place like ::1""

      Yeah yeah, there's no place like home. No need to google that, it's as bad as a shirt that says "ack syn ack ack ack"

      "IPv4 is stupid and should go away as soon as possible. "

      I don't believe IPv4 will ever go away, it's too easy to support, esp if your trying to help with internal networks.

      "excuse me sir what is your IP address?"

      Now as to your comment about NAT breaking things I will take it with a grain of salt because i have no practical experience with it.
      talamakara
      • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

        @talamakara I don't know where you got the idea from that a wtr300n can do IPv6 with the default firmware (I checked the userguide. I didn't see it), properly IPv6 capable linksys devices have only come on the market in the last year, but anyway...

        You seem to buy the high-end models and I can tell you most people don't have the high-end models and the low-end models a lot of the time don't have enough memory to have IPv6 so they can't even be used.

        So they need to be replaced. For most customers of Comcast for example. That is a lot of devices, this takes time/money/effort.
        silentlennie
      • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

        @talamakara
        Good post. As for "Now as to your comment about NAT breaking things I will take it with a grain of salt because i have no practical experience with it." I've had nearly a decade of experience with it and zero problems. In fact, I suspect whoever said it WAS a problem wasn't actually knowledgeable of the subject and so was mistaken; the "problem" was elsewhere.
        tom@...
  • They said ZIP codes and area codes wouldn't work, either

    ZIP codes are impossible. No one is going to rememebr some silly five digit number and more than they can rememeber ten digits for a phone call. People will be expected to carry a phone book with them wherever they go. We'll see how well that works. The whole idea is ridiculous.

    Or to put it another way, just because NAT postponed the problem doesn't mean it solved it permanently. As to the difference in address lenght and format, how often does the typical web user enter IP addresses (or even know what they are)? Only the ones who are still using EDLIN to compose their email.
    gardoglee
    • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

      @gardoglee 12 numbers (IPv4) is enough. 16 is pushing it (credit card numbers).
      32 alphanumeric characters is too many.

      And the worst part is that they could still make it easier. Just extend the IPv4 format to encompass 64 bits, in decimal. Not that hard.
      You don't NEED 2^128 addresses. It's overkill and makes working with the system needlessly complex.
      2^64 will suffice since that's still a large number of addresses per person.

      I like the technology. I just wish they'd choose a better addressing scheme than that cluster[bomb].

      I also don't like that IPv6 addresses will be tied to MAC addresses but that's another story entirely (privacy).
      R220
      • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

        <i>I also don't like that IPv6 addresses will be tied to MAC addresses but that's another story entirely (privacy).</i><br><br>Really? So how are they going to get away with that?<br><br>They'll be ways to mask that and enable private extensions in some way.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

        @luckyducky7@...
        [b]You don't NEED 2^128 addresses. It's overkill and makes working with the system needlessly complex. [/b]

        Gee.. Somehow that sounds eeriely familar... Oh yah.. It kinda sounds like that statement (erroneously attributed to Bill Gates) - the one about no one would ever need more than 640 MB of RAM.

        Let's look at it from another point of view - the whole concept of IPv6 is to future proof the system. Do we really need 3.4028236692093846346337460743177e+38 unique IPv6 addresses today? Of course not. On the other hand, somewhere along the line, if populations keep on rising and more and more people get more and more devices and more and more devices become internet enabled - as they seem to be - then it might not be such a bad idea to go the extra mile and not have to repeat the exercise of throwing out otherwise working but now obsolete hardware in our lifetimes.
        Wolfie2K3
    • RE: What is World IPv6 Day and why it matters

      @gardoglee
      Edlin; I was going to make a nostalgic point about it then remembered it is supplied with XP Pro and probably win 7. It was also in 98 and 95. I've never understood why it was included, but it isn't installed at least unless you manually install it. Maybe its code is incompatble with anything else, but IIRC is outputs straight ascii text, no?
      tom@...