Facebook enabling IPv6 on beta site next month

Facebook wants to bring IPv6 to beta.facebook.com on May 18, 2012, in advance of making its main site dual-stacked (supporting both IPv4 and IPv6) on June 6, 2012 (World IPv6 Launch day).
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook has announced it will enable Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) on beta.facebook.com ahead of the World IPv6 Launch to give its developer community time to discover issues and report bugs. More specifically, the beta site will get IPv6 on May 18, 2012, while the main Facebook site will get IPv6 on June 6, 2012 (as already announced earlier this year). Facebook says it is committed to permanently making its site dual–stacked, meaning it will support access via IPv4 and IPv6, "on most of our HTTP and HTTPS endpoints."

The launch will follow last year's successful industry-wide test of IPv6 on June 8, 2011, which demonstrated how IPv6 is the best solution to keeping devices communicating and ensuring people stay connected online as the Internet continues to grow. In fact, Facebook was so satisfied with last year's test that it left developers.facebook.com dual stacked, because it saw no reason to switch back.

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 June 6, 2012. World IPv6 Launch is organized by Internet Society and represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6.

Seven ISPs have agreed to participate in World IPv6 Launch and are committed to make IPv6 available automatically as the normal course of business for a significant portion of their subscribers. The following ISPs are committed to having at least 1 percent of their wireline residential subscribers who visit participating websites will do so using IPv6 by June 6: AT&T, Comcast, Free Telecom, Internode, KDDI, Time Warner Cable, and XS4ALL.

Home networking equipment manufacturers Cisco and D-Link are committed to enabling IPv6 by default through the range of their home router products by June 6. Facebook, Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo are committed to enabling IPv6 on their main websites permanently by June 6. Last but certainly not least, content delivery network providers Akamai and Limelight will be enabling their customers to join this list of participating websites by enabling IPv6 throughout their infrastructure.

For the uninitiated, IPv6 is a version of the Internet Protocol slated to succeed IPv4, which currently directs most Internet traffic, but is running out of addresses. IPv4 allows 2^32 addresses (about 4.3 billion) while IPv6 allows up to 2^128 addresses, and includes several other improvements. The problem is the difficult transition from IPv4 to IPv6 (see the links below).

"IPv6 is vital because the Internet's original addressing system (IPv4) has run out of free space," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "Since every device on the Internet relies on a unique address to communicate, we must transition to IPv6 which provides over 4 billion times more addresses than IPv4. IPv6 will ensure everyone (users, ISPs, governments, and companies) have direct and open access to the Internet."

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