The day after completing a successful 24-hour trial of IPv6, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo said at a joint press conference that they would begin permanently supporting this upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol on some of their key websites.
Joined by two content delivery networks -- Akamai and Limelight, which also pledged their commitment to IPv6 deployment -- these popular websites proclaimed the World IPv6 Day trial to be a resounding success. All three companies said they had handled a significant increase in IPv6 traffic on June 8 without suffering serious technical glitches.
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IPv6 features an expanded addressing scheme, so it can handle vastly more devices connected directly to the Internet than its predecessor called IPv4. However, IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4, which means website operators have to upgrade their network equipment and software to support IPv6 traffic.
Google said it has decided to leave its main YouTube website enabled for IPv6 for the time being. Since 2008, Google has supported IPv6 on separate websites -- such as www.ipv6.google.com -- rather than on its main websites.
"We saw 65 percent growth in our IPv6 traffic on World IPv6 Day," said Lorenzo Colitti, IPv6 Software Engineer at Google, who pointed out that Google added IPv6 support to several new services including Orkut for the trial. "This event has really been successful in galvanizing the community."
"At Facebook, we saw over 1 million of our users reach us over IPv6," said Don Lee, senior network engineer at Facebook. "There were no technical glitches in this 24-hour period. We were encouraged by the many positive comments on our blog. ... It is really interesting to see how passionate people were about IPv6 around the world."
Because of the positive results from World IPv6 Day, Facebook has decided to support IPv6 on its website for developers, which is www.developers.facebook.com.
"We will continue to adapt our entire code base to support IPv6," Lee added. "IPv6 will allow the Internet to continue its amazing development."
BY THE NUMBERS: IPv6 traffic surges at launch of World IPv6 Day
World IPv6 Day was held Wednesday and was sponsored by the Internet Society. The event attracted 400-plus corporate, government and university participants that deployed IPv6 on more than 1,000 websites for the day.
Leslie Daigle, chief Internet technology officer for the Internet Society, said World IPv6 Day was designed to motivate service providers, website operators, hardware makers and software suppliers to test-drive IPv6 and to identify any remaining technical issues that need to be resolved with this emerging technology.