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World IPv6 Launch Sets 6 June As Target Date

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Internet Society organised event sets out plans for IPv6

A number of websites, ISPs and manufacturers have committed to work together to permanently enable IPv6 products and services by 6 June this year.

The announcement was made as part of the World IPv6 Launch, organised by the Internet Society, which has declared the move the “largest transition in the Internet’s history.”

Critical to the future of the internet

IPv6 is seen as critical to the Internet’s continued growth, as the current protocol, IPv4, allows for just four billion IP addresses, a number close to exhaustion due to the increased use of internet connected devices. In comparison, IPv6 allows for 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses which would permit the Internet to grow indefinitely.

ISPs, including AT&T, Comcast, Free Telecom, Intermode, KDDI, Time Warner Cable and XS4ALL have all committed to providing IPv6 automatically to a significant portion of its subscribers, while participating home network equipment manufacturers such as Cisco and D-Link will also enable IPv6 through its range of routers by the launch date.

A number of websites, including Facebook, Google, Bing and Yahoo have vowed to enable IPv6 on their main pages.

“The fact that leading companies across several industries are making significant commitments to participate in World IPv6 Launch is yet another indication that IPv6 is no longer a lab experiment; it’s here and is an important next step in the Internet’s evolution,” said Leslie Daigle, chief Internet technology officer of the Internet Society.

Mixed Outlook

“World IPv6 Launch marks a watershed moment in Internet history,” commented Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist at Google. “It breaks the limits of the original address space to open a vast new territory, trillions upon trillions of times larger, and reinforces the end-to-end architecture that made the Internet so powerful at the beginning. Google strongly supports this upgrade.”

The Internet Society organised World IPv6 Day in June last year, a similar initiative that attempted to motivate organisations across the industry to prepare their systems and services for IPv6 so that businesses can make a successful transition. The Internet went IPv6 for 24 hours in what was hailed as an important test and declared a success by those involved.

However, this is not a universally shared view as some have suggested that the ability of critical infrastructure components to support IPv6 is ‘pathetic’, while most companies see the transition as a low priority.