World IPv6 Day Tests Preparedness For Transition

Today, 8 June, is World IPv6 Day where a number of tech companies have come together to test preparedness for the move to IPv6 from IPv4, which is close to hitting rock-bottom for the number of remaining addresses for computers and devices.Some of the more than 400 telecom carriers, content providers, hardware suppliers and software vendors involved are Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks who will offer their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour “test flight”.World IPv6 Day aims to test how prepared the large internet firms are for “providing access to common resources using both old and new addressing conventions at once,” as The Economist explains. The goal of the Test Flight Day is to motivate organisations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out, explains ISOC.”IPv4 has about four billion addresses assigned in blocks of varying size,” The Economist also explains. “At one time, a single institution, like Stanford or Apple, might be given an allocation of 16m addresses, and use just a fraction. Others might be allowed just 254 and use one or two. To eke out more time on the IPv4 death watch, owners of idle addresses in the larger blocks had to give up unused portions. IPv6 allows for 3.4×1038 addresses which, boffins reckon, should last until the heat death of the universe. That may seem like overkill, but so did four billion-odd a few decades ago.”However while everyone will one day need to have their internet-connected devices IPv6 compatible, it is not essential that internet users have their devices switched over immediately.”This is not a year 2000 thing. Planes are not going to start falling out of the sky,” said Philip Sheldrake, a board member at non-profit group 6UK, which is helping to promote the system, told BBC News.”The web will continue to work, but future growth would be stymied. It is just like when we used up the phone numbers in London.”For users with an ordinary domestic internet connection, the changeover may involve upgrading their hardware.”A lot of routers at the moment are already capable of supporting IPv6. What they need is a firmware update,” explained Richard Fletcher, chief operating officer at Plusnet, a UK internet service provider (ISP)