January 24, 2011, 11:32 AM — Two leading network vendors -- Cisco and Verizon Business -- have enlisted in an upcoming trial-by-fire of IPv6, the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol called IPv4.
Dubbed World IPv6 Day, the 24-hour trial is being sponsored by the Internet Society and is scheduled for June 8. Google, Facebook and Yahoo have already agreed to participate, as have leading content delivery networks Akamai and Limelight Networks.
Network vendors are jumping on the World IPv6 Day bandwagon because they are anxious to show their customers -- particularly the U.S. military -- that they not only "talk the talk" but are willing to "walk the walk" when it comes to deploying their own IPv6 products.
Cisco said in a blog post published on Friday that it was participating in World IPv6 Day because it would be an "unprecedented" test of IPv6 in terms of its scale.
"While we have helped a number of customers deploy IPv6 on networks large and small, stitching this together ubiquitously and seamlessly among not just the networks themselves but the software and applications running on top has been challenging," wrote Mark Townsley, a distinguished engineer with Cisco Development Organization.
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Participants in World IPv6Day agree to enable their main public-facing Web sites with both IPv6 and IPv4 running side-by-side in what's called dual-stack mode. Most Web sites that offer IPv6 support today -- such as Facebook and YouTube -- have done so on dedicated IPv6-only Web sites.