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Major Websites Commit to 24-Hour Test Flight for IPv6

Facebook, Google and Yahoo, websites with more than one billion combined visits each day, are joining major content delivery networks Akamai and Limelight Networks, and the Internet Society, for the first global-scale trial of the new Internet Protocol, IPv6.

On June 8, 2011, dubbed “World IPv6 Day,” participants will enable IPv6 on their main services for 24 hours. With IPv4 addresses running out this year, the industry must act quickly to accelerate full IPv6 adoption or risk increased costs and limited functionality online for Internet users everywhere. The companies are coming together to help motivate organizations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware manufacturers, operating system vendors and other web companies – to prepare their services for the transition.

IPv6, the successor to the protocol currently used on the Internet, was designed in the late 1990s but has not seen deployment on a global scale. With IPv4 address space running out, the industry cannot afford to wait much longer. Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist and co-inventor of the TCP/IP protocol stack, commented, “In the short history of the Internet, the transition to IPv6 is one of the most important steps we will take together to protect the Internet as we know it. It’s as if the Internet was originally designed with a limited number of telephone numbers, and we’re soon going to run out.” IPv4 has approximately four billion IP addresses (the sequence of numbers assigned to each Internet-connected device).

The explosion in the number of people, devices and web services on the Internet means that IPv4 is running out of space. IPv6, the next-generation Internet protocol, which provides over four billion times more space, will connect the billions of people not connected today and will help ensure the Internet can continue its current growth rate. One of the goals of World IPv6 Day is to expose potential issues under controlled conditions and address them as soon as possible. The vast majority of users should be able to access services as usual, but in rare cases, misconfigured or misbehaving network equipment, particularly in home networks, may impair access to participating websites during the trial.

Current estimates are that 0.05% of users may experience such problems, but participating organizations will be working together with operating system manufacturers, home router vendors and ISPs to minimize the number of users affected. Participants will also be working together to provide tools to detect problems and offer suggested fixes in advance of the trial. For more information about World IPv6 Day, how to get involved, and links to useful information for users, visit

http://www.internetsociety.org/worldipv6day

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