Monday, January 17, 2011
Google, Facebook and Yahoo Ready IPv6 Test
Several of the Internet's most popular Web sites - including Facebook, Google and Yahoo - have agreed to participate in the first global-scale trial of IPv6, the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol known as IPv4.
The trial — dubbed "World IPv6 Day" — requires participants to support native IPv6 traffic on their main Web sites on June 8, 2011.
Leading content delivery networks Akamai and Limelight Networks also committed to the IPv6 trial, which is being sponsored by the Internet Society. IPv6 is a necessary upgrade because the Internet is running out of IP addresses using the 30-year-old IPv4 standard.
Less than 5% of IPv4 addresses are left unallocated to the regional Internet registries, which in turn dole them out to network operators. Experts say the free pool of IPv4 addresses will be depleted in a matter of weeks.
IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices connected directly to the Internet. IPv6, on the other hand, uses 128-bit addresses and supports a virtually unlimited number of devices - 2 to the 128th power.
The day-long IPv6 trial is a critical development for content providers such as Google and Facebook, which until now have been supporting IPv6 at separate, dedicated Web addresses rather than on their main traffic-heavy Web sites. Google, for example, says it will enable IPv6 on its main Web sites - including www.google.com and www.youtube.com - for World IPv6 Day.
The event is also a big deal for Yahoo, which has been reluctant to support IPv6 because of concerns about using a DNS whitelisting approach like Google's, which provides IPv6 content only to users with known end-to-end IPv6 connectivity.
"Participating in World IPv6 Day will allow us to obtain real-life data that we can use to ensure a seamless user experience as we transition to IPv6," said Adam Bechtel, vice president of Yahoo's Infrastructure Group, in a statement. "We welcome this opportunity to collaborate with the technical community and provide leadership in addressing the scaling challenges facing the Internet."