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World IPv6 Day: Tech industry's most-watched event since Y2K

400 websites are participating in 24-hour trial of IPv6, despite worries about timeouts and hacker attacks

By , Network World
June 07, 2011 08:21 PM ET

Network World - The nation's largest telecom carriers, content providers, hardware suppliers and software vendors will be on the edge of their seats tonight for the start of World IPv6 Day, which is the most-anticipated 24 hours the tech industry has seen since fears of the Y2K bug dominated New Year's Eve in 1999.

More than 400 organizations are participating in World IPv6 Day, a large-scale experiment aimed at identifying problems associated with IPv6, an upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol known as IPv4. (Also read "Leading ISPs, websites commit to June 6 start for IPv6.")

BACKGROUND: Large-scale IPv6 trial set for June 8

Expert to IT pros: Adopt IPv6 soon or be sorry later

Sponsored by the Internet Society, World IPv6 Day runs from 8 p.m. EST Tuesday until 7:59 p.m. EST Wednesday. The IT departments in the participating organizations have spent the last five months preparing their websites for an anticipated rise in IPv6-based traffic, more tech support calls and possible hacking attacks prompted by this largest-ever trial of IPv6.

"We're ready," says Cricket Liu, vice president of architecture at Infoblox, a World IPv6 Day participant. "We've got the IPv6 address on the Web server and the name server. ... The point of World IPv6 Day [is] to uncover issues and to prepare for a day when we do have much broader IPv6 adoption."

"We're seeing some IPv6 traffic already," says Hari Krishnan, director of product management at Nominum, a DNS vendor that is participating in the IPv6 trial. "It's still a very small percentage. But there is definitely a lot of interest in our customers in terms of rolling out IPv6-based Internet services. This is something they are planning or in the evaluation phase."

World IPv6 Day is the largest-ever experiment in the Internet's 40-year history. The goal of the event is to quantify issues such as misconfigured gear that will create broken connections for some users of IPv6.

"This is a test flight. It's been clear from the beginning that we're expecting problems," says Andy Champagne, vice president of engineering at Akamai, a content delivery network that carriers anywhere from 15% to 30% of the Internet's traffic and a World IPv6 Day participant. "I don't think I remember an event where we have had so many different companies working together to fix a problem. We have folks who are usually staunch competitors sharing information."

DETAILS: Can't reach your favorite website? IPv6 may be to blame

Many of the Internet's biggest companies are participating in World IPv6 Day, including:

-- popular websites such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Bing;

--ISPs such as Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon;

-- network equipment vendors such as Cisco, Juniper, Blue Coat and Radware;

-- software suppliers such as Microsoft, Mozilla and Nominum.

Other participants include universities such as Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute, government agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration, and tech industry groups such as the W3C.

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