IPv6 Internet Protocol to launch in June — finally

January 20, 2012
IPv6 header

IPv6 header (credit: Mro/Wikimedia Commons)

We’ve run out of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, so major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world are participating in World IPv6 Launch to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services by June 6, 2012.

“As IPv4 addresses become increasingly scarce, every segment of the industry must act quickly to accelerate full IPv6 adoption or risk increased costs and limited functionality online for Internet users everywhere,” the Internet Society said in a statement.

IPv4 only allows 32 bits for an IP address, so it has only 232 (4,294,967,296) possible addresses (which have now run out). IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, for an address space of 2128 (340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456) addresses. This expansion allows for virtually unlimited devices and users on the Internet, extra flexibility in allocating addresses, and efficiency for routing traffic.

World IPv6 Launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6. As the successor to the current Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the Internet’s continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development.

ISPs participating in World IPv6 Launch plan to enable IPv6 for enough users so that at least 1% of their wireline residential subscribers who visit participating websites will do so using IPv6 by June 6, 2012. These ISPs have committed that IPv6 will be available automatically as the normal course of business for a significant portion of their subscribers. Committed ISPs are AT&T, Comcast, Free Telecom, Internode, KDDI, Time Warner Cable, XS4ALL.

Participating home networking equipment manufacturers will enable IPv6 by default through the range of their home router products by 6 June 2012. Committed equipment manufacturers are: Cisco, D-Link.

Web companies participating in World IPv6 Launch will enable IPv6 on their main websites permanently beginning June 6, 2012. Inaugural participants are: Facebook, Google, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo.

Content delivery network providers Akamai and Limelight will be enabling their customers to join this list of participating websites by enabling IPv6 throughout their infrastructure.

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