IPv6 will go fully live on June 6. That's the date when 50-plus access networks and more than 2,500 websites -- including Google, YouTube, Facebook and Yahoo -- will turn on support for the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol and leave it on for good.
World IPv6 Launch Day is being coordinated by the Internet Society, which is promoting IPv6 as the best strategy for ensuring that the Internet continues to grow as address space becomes increasingly scarce with IPv4, the original version of the Internet Protocol.
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Participants in World IPv6 Launch Day are trying to drive home the message to techies worldwide that it's time to start deploying IPv6.
"If you've been waiting to deploy IPv6, there is no reason to continue waiting," says Leslie Daigle, chief Internet technology officer with the Internet Society (ISOC). "There are customers who will view your website over IPv6 now. It isn't experimental. It's out there for real."
Some of the largest ISPs have signed on for World IPv6 Day, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Time Warner here in the United States. Each has agreed to enable IPv6 for 1 percent of their subscribers by Wednesday.
"One percent was chosen as a metric because it is a big deal," Daigle explains. "It represents a serious commitment by the network operators to provide IPv6. In order to get to 1 percent, you have to have IPv6 enabled on a considerably larger percentage of your customer base because not everybody has a home router that can do IPv6 or equipment that is configured to use IPv6. To get to 1 percent, [one ISP executive] estimates that you have to have 10 percent or more of your network enabled."
Comcast met its goal of IPv6-enabling 1 percent of its subscribers on May 24.
"We've launched IPv6 to a third of our network at this point," said John Brzozowski, chief architect for IPv6 and distinguished engineer with Comcast. "We will be deploying it to the rest of our network over the balance of this year and likely beyond 2012. At this point, the momentum is there for IPv6, and we are making significant strides in penetration and the number of people that have IPV6 available to them."