ATLANTA -- The Internet Society last night awarded its highest honor for work related to IPv6, the next generation Internet Protocol, to executives from Facebook and Comcast. Recipients of the award were Paul Saab and Donn Lee, software engineers at Facebook, and John Brzozowski, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Architect for IPv6 at Comcast.
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The three engineers received the Itojun Service Award, which recognizes extraordinary dedication to IPv6 deployment. The award is named for Dr. Jun-ichiro "Itojun" Hagino, an active member of the Internet engineering community who died in 2007. Now in its fourth year, the Itojun Service Award includes a $3,000 prize and a crystal plaque.
Brzozowski was honored for his "tireless efforts in providing IPv6 connectivity to cable users all over the world,'' according to Jun Murai of the Itojun Service Award committee. Saab and Lee were honored "for their efforts in making high-profile content available for IPv6 and for their key contributions to World IPv6 Day and World IPv6 Launch," he said.
Previous recipients of the Itojun award were executives from Google, FreeBSD and a French ISP called Free.
"It's obviously a great honor to be recognized with many friends and colleagues,'' Brzozowski said, urging the network engineers in the audience to "keep working hard to deploy IPv6.''
Saab told the audience that "IPv6 turned out not to be so difficult. I encourage everybody to start doing IPv6. We are only 1% to 2% complete, and we need to get to 100%."
IPv6 is the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, which is known as IPv4.
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 Internet needs IPv6 because it is running out of IPv4 addresses.
Brzozowski said that 2.5% of Comcast's traffic currently runs over IPv6, and that Comcast will be done with its IPv6 deployment for all U.S. residential customers by June 2013.
Facebook has had IPv6 deployed in production mode since May 2012.