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The Yawn of World IPv6 Day

Happy World IPv6 Day! Well, it's mostly happy, except for the 0.05 percent predicted to experience Internet connection problems today.

According to the Internet Society, the organizers of World IPv6 Day, those experiencing problems today likely will have misconfigured networking equipment, and they'll likely be home users. Thanks, Internet Society, for taking the suspense out of a day that could have been an unmitigated disaster.

If you do have an Internet connection problem today, it might be due to "IPv6 brokenness." The current 32-bit IPv4 system and the forthcoming 128-bit IPv6 are not compatible and use a different numbering-block sequence to specify an IP address. Many new Internet routers use a so-called dual-stack approach (IPv4 and IPv6), but you can easily buy equipment today that doesn't support IPv6.

While today the switch will be turned to IPv6 for just one day as a test by participating organizations, someday we'll all be experiencing the benefits of IPv6. The most profound benefit will be the ability of individuals and organizations to set up new Web sites, since IPv4 addresses are fast running out. A big country like China already has a border-to-border IPv6 network in place called the Chinese New Generation Internet, according to a 2009 Microsoft Channel 9 presentation with IT pundit Mark Minasi. The CNGI is the result of one of those five-year plans.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world appears to be waiting to see if everyone else is IPv6 compliant first. It's a chicken-and-egg kind of dilemma.

A blog by London-based cloud service provider ElasticHosts notes that "IPv6 still only accounts for 0.03% of the Internet's traffic." The blog argues that "it makes no sense for you to move your website from IPv4 to IPv6-only at present." Instead, Web site owners should make the switch when IPv6 is more prevalent, which happens when all ISPs have upgraded to IPv6, the blog argues.

Microsoft uses IPv6 for peer-to-peer networking technologies in Windows. Supposedly, Microsoft has had your back on Windows IPv6 compliance since Windows XP Service Pack 1. So, no worries there, but if something does go amiss, Microsoft offers a "Fix it" solution to temporarily roll back to IPv4 today.

So, what about you? Did you build a bunker and save up rations? Are you experiencing problems now in the shadow of World IPv6 Day? Tell Doug your survivalist stories, or just send him a big yawn, at dbarney@redmondmag.com.
--By Kurt Mackie

Posted by Doug Barney on 06/08/2011 at 1:18 PM


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