On June 8, 2011 the world participated in World IPv6 Day. This was a 24-hour test for web sites to use both an IPv4 and IPv6 addresses simultaneously for the same URL. This week was IPv6 Week and later this year there will be World IPv6 Launch. Each of these events has a longer duration with the goal to permanently enable IPv6 on major web sites all over the world. Here is a review of these events and information on how you can participate.
World IPv6 Day
World IPv6 Day was an idea originally conceived by early IPv6 adopters at several major content providers. IPv6 evangelists at Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai, Limelight Networks, and several other companies came up with the idea of conducting a 24-hour test of having their web sites have both an IPv4 DNS "A" record and an IPv6 DNS "AAAA" record simultaneously. The event then became a major initiative for the Internet Society (ISOC) and they helped coordinate the activities with information posted to their web site. The goal of this event was to test the end-user experience and help identify any problems their users might encounter if they were to fully deploy IPv6 someday. This test would also help measure the amount of "IPv6 Brokenness" on the Internet and help promote the eventual permanent deployment of IPv6 around the world.
Hundreds of other companies joined in and there was much anticipation and media coverage of this one-day event. However, in the end, it was determined that the amount of IPv6 Brokenness was less than previously measured. This was likely due to the efforts of many to helped prepare their systems and software for the 24-hour experiment. I even created a greeting card for Happy World IPv6 Day. However, now that I look at it, it looks more like a Valentine's Day card. Hmmm, that reminds me, I got to go buy a gift for Tuesday.
It turned out that the few problems encountered during World IPv6 Day received was actually a good thing. The world also learned that IPv6 is less scary than previously thought. Since World IPv6 Day was a big success, there have been speculation on when the next event would be and if it would be longer than 24 hours.
There was another world IPv6 event planned for February 2012. The next World IPv6 Day-like event was called "IPv6 Week" and was a full 7-day event taking place February 6-12, 2012. This 7-day long IPv6 experiment started out as a Brazilian initiative, but it was open to everyone to participate. This "Semana IPv6" event is being coordinated by NIC.br, CGI.br, LACNIC, and the Internet Society.
The goal of this event was similar to World IPv6 Day in that it was an experiment to see if this event would drive an increase in the amount of IPv6 traffic on the global Internet. This event also helped measure the IPv6 brokenness in a controlled way over a prolonged timeframe where the effects of IPv6 could be carefully studied. This event was open to ISPs, content providers, enterprises, and techies to participate. The event organizers created a dual protocol web site http://ipv6week.org and then helped promote their event in Latin America and South America and around the world.
This event ends today and it appears that it had similar results to World IPv6 Day. No significant problems were encountered and many organizations learned a lot about IPv6 through the process of preparing for and participating in IPv6 Week. You can track their Tweets about the event by looking for #ipv6week and #semanaIPv6.
World IPv6 Launch
On January 17th the Internet Society (ISOC) announced plans for World IPv6 Launch. This is a continuation of the World IPv6 Day concept but the plan is to make the transition to IPv6 permanent on June 6, 2012. On January 17th, Leslie Daigle, the Internet Society's Chief Internet Technology Officer, issued many statements about World IPv6 Launch to help publicize this activity and raise awareness to the goals for IPv6 adoption.
This World IPv6 Launch event is similar to World IPv6 Day in that organizations will make their web sites dual-protocol enabled. However, it also includes service providers who are deploying dual-protocol Internet connectivity to their customers and equipment manufacturers who make IPv6-capable network equipment.
Internet service providers have been hesitant to join the World IPv6 Launch movement because there are some requirements for them to meet. These requirements include: "ISPs participating in World IPv6 Launch will 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 6 June 2012." However, this may be a significant stretch for many service providers who have not aggressively adopted IPv6. Therefore, some providers are hesitant to state their intention to participate because they feel they may not be ready by June. However, AT&T, Comcast, Free Telecom, Internode, KDDI, Time Warner Cable and XS4ALL have all committed to join this initiative.
There are also network equipment manufacturers that are joining World IPv6 Launch. These companies are committed to make products for home broadband Internet routers operate with IPv4 and IPv6 simultaneously by default. So far, Cisco and D-Link have pledged their support.
There are also requirements for content providers to participate in World IPv6 Launch. Again, the major content providers like Facebook, Google, Microsoft Bing, Yahoo!, and content delivery networks (CDNs) Akamai and Limelight Networks have also joined up.
Enterprises and other organizations can also join World IPv6 Launch by working to deploy IPv6 Internet connectivity and make their web sites accessible by the whole Internet using IPv4 and IPv6. If you intend to participate in World IPv6 Launch, then you need to be aware of the preparations required so that you do not introduce any problems for your users or customers.
Individuals can also participate in World IPv6 Launch. You can ask your ISP if you can get IPv6 connectivity. This could be through one of the service providers participating in World IPv6 Launch and their IPv6 trials or they might even have native IPv6 service by June. An alternative is to configure a Hurricane Electric tunnel with your own CPE. If you have you own domain name and web site then you should work on making it dual-protocol accessible. If you have a hosted domain, then you should make an inquiry of your hosting provider to see if they have IPv6 connectivity for you and if they are participating in World IPv6 Launch.
Regardless of how you participate in World IPv6 Launch, you should be prepared to test your IPv6 connectivity. This may involve troubleshooting your end-to-end IPv6 connectivity. Therefore, it is important that you learn about IPv6, how to configure it, as well as how to troubleshoot it. Here is a list of things you may want to consider to prepare yourself to be able to debug problems that may arise.
Even if you are not participating in IPv6 Week or World IPv6 Launch, you should be aware of these global IPv6 events. It is conceivable that, during one of these IPv6 events, there could be customers or your own end-users trying to reach one of these popular web sites or your web site using IPv6.
You may be surprised to know that you and/or your own end-users have IPv6 connectivity and didn't realize it. This could be through one of the IPv6-capable ISPs or through a tunnel. Your organization may have end-users scattered around the world that may have some form of IPv6 Internet connectivity and they may suddenly have a problem reaching their favorite web site. They will call their IT department to help them solve their problem.
Regardless, even if you have not yet deployed IPv6, you should be cognizant that there are others on the Internet who are starting to use IPv6 and they prefer to communicate with you over IPv6. At the very least, you should be aware of these IPv6 events and the subtle impacts they may have on your organization. However, for the vast majority of users these events will be "non-events" and show the world that IPv6 is not something to be afraid of.
I encourage you to expand your skill-set and learn more about IPv6 and try to get your organization to a point where they can actively participate in these events. You will learn something cool and new and help your organization take steps toward the eventual adoption of IPv6.