January 13, 2011, 11:02 AM — Major Websites are to test Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) by participating in World IPv6 Day, scheduled for June 8. Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, among others, have agreed to ensure that IPv6 entrances to their sites will be available, along with any network infrastructure needed to receive IPv6 traffic.
[ See also: IPv6 basics: Getting started with IPv6 ]
The Internet Society is organizing the day and its intention is to both test the Internet for IPv6 readiness, and to encourage those behind all aspects of Internet hardware and software to either upgrade to IPv6 or to start making plans to do so.
This includes humble end users like you and I, who can lobby our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to begin IPv6 rollout.
Internet Protocol version 6 is the low-level technology used to ensure that data gets from place to place on the Internet. It's designed to replace the older but established IPv4 system that, due to technical limitations, failed to grow with the Internet as it became a worldwide phenomenon.
At present the main users of IPv6 are academic institutions and the research departments of some tech firms, but for the future there's little doubt everybody in the world will be using it. In fact, the switch to IPv6 is massively overdue and the world has very nearly run out of Internet addresses provided by IPv4. Full depletion of addresses is likely to take place either this year or next, potentially forcing a crisis if rapid uptake of IPv6 is not achieved.
The hope is that World IPv6 Day will lead to a small but significant spike in IPv6 traffic, which will help iron out any bugs and provide a much-needed perspective on the technology. The previous biggest test of IPv6 was during the 2008 Olympic Games in China, during which IPv6 underpinned all internal network operations.