World IPv6 Day Kicks Off

Over 300 websites set to participate in event that will be the first big mainstream test flight of IPv6.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jun 7, 2011
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At 5 PM PT/ 8 PM ET on June 7th, World IPv6 Day will start. It's an event that will put hundreds of mainstream websites on IPv6 for the first time, as the world prepares for the transition to IPv6.

World IPv6 Day was first announced in January by the Internet Society. At the time, a handful of major websites including Google and Facebook publicly indicated that they would participate in the event. Over the last six months, the need for IPv6 has accelerated and so too has the public commitments to participate in World IPv6 Day.

The free pool of available IPv4 addresses was officially exhausted in February of this year. With the end of easily available IPv4 addresses, IPv6 is the only way forward to continue the growth of the connected devices and the Internet itself. The obvious need for IPv6 has helped to spur a dramatic surge in the number of public websites that will be participating in World IPv6 day.

"Over 300 websites around the world have indicated they will be participating in World IPv6 Day," Greg Wood, Director of Communications at the Internet Society told InternetNews.com. "In addition to websites with global reach, such as Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook, many participants are among the leading sites in their region."

Wood added that commitments to participate in World IPv6 Day already have exceeded the Internet Society's expectations. As well, Wood said that the event has sparked other IPv6-related activities, so it has definitely catalyzed significant interest and action.

"The goal of the event is to provide a large scale 'test flight'," Wood said. "So beyond highlighting awareness about the event itself, we expect it will help uncover information that will help accelerate the deployment of IPv6."

While awareness is a key goal of the event, there are also more tangible technical goals as well. With over 300 websites participating, reporting on the success and weaknesses in IPv6 will be a key deliverable at the end of the event.

"The main goal for World IPv6 Day is to provide a global-scale, real-world test of an IPv6-enabled Internet as a way to uncover issues that need to be addressed as IPv6 deployment continues," Wood said. "There will be a real-time dashboard at www.worldipv6day.org, but many of the most valuable lessons and important actions that result from World IPv6 Day will come in the weeks and months that follow."

World IPv6 is not the flag day when the world will magically turn on IPv6 and keep it on. The event is scheduled to run for only 24 hours and is a milestone on the path towards full IPv6 deployment, eventually.

"Ultimately, success will be measured by the continued deployment of IPv6," Wood said. "It is important to note that many organizations have already made this commitment. World IPv6 Day is encouraging the continued deployment of IPv6, so it is an important milestone along the path."

There may also be a need for a sequel to World IPv6 Day, depending on what happens over the course of the 24 hours test period.

"Once World IPv6 Day on 8 June 2011 is complete, the participants will evaluate what they have collectively learned, and what the best next steps will be," Wood said. "We will know more in the coming weeks and months, including whether another World IPv6 Day is needed to advance the deployment of IPv6."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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