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No news is good news on World IPv6 Day

Like Y2K, this 24-hour trial of next-gen Internet services is proving uneventful; no major outages, security breaches reported

By , Network World
June 08, 2011 04:26 PM ET

Network World - World IPv6 Day, a 24-hour trial of next-generation Internet services, is going as smoothly as participating websites had hoped, sparking comparisons to the dawn of the new millennium passing without any Y2K-related incidents.

As this large-scale experiment draws to a close, no major outages or security breaches were reported at the 400-plus corporate, government and university websites participating in the IPv6 trial.

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

IPv6 is a long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, which is known as IPv4. IPv6 features an expanded addressing scheme to allow vastly more devices to be attached directly to the Internet, but it is not backward compatible with IPv4.

Launched five months ago, World IPv6 Day is a trial of IPv6 sponsored by the Internet Society that has attracted the Internet's most popular websites including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Bing. The event was designed to allow website operators to identify any problems with the emerging standard before they deploy it in production mode.

"The key phrase that is being used by World IPv6 Day participants is that it has been uneventful, and that is absolutely the best thing that we could have expected," says Martin Levy, director of IPv6 strategy at Hurricane Electric, which claims to have the world's most interconnected IPv6 backbone.

"World IPv6 Day made a lot of large companies really get their act together. They used it as a deadline for deploying IPv6," Levy adds. "Hopefully a lot of people will leave it on because they are not finding a lot of brokenness."

Jean McManus, executive director of Verizon's Corporate Technology Organization, also used the word "uneventful" to describe the carrier's experience with both its LTE network and its websites over the last few hours.

"We're not really taking calls with customers having issues," McManus says. "Some users may have broken connections, but they are either not going to call into tech support or it's not out there in the volumes that people thought because at this point we are not seeing the calls. ... We are really pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it's gone."

McManus adds that Verizon hasn't reported any IPv6-related security incidents, either. "We are seeing nothing out of the ordinary right now," she says. "Knock on wood that it will stay the same."

IPv6 traffic spiked last night when World IPv6 Day began, and it has continued to be elevated since then.

Arbor Networks reported that overall IPv6 traffic volumes had doubled during the first 12 hours of World IPv6 Day.

BY THE NUMBERS: IPv6 traffic surges at launch of World IPv6 Day

"We saw a massive jump that we publicized on our Facebook page within the first hour," Levy says. "The numbers are still small when compared to IPv4. But I would say that we've seen a fivefold increase in IPv6 Web traffic, and the day is not over."

Akamai, a content delivery network supporting 30 participating websites, experienced a peak of 458 hits/second of IPv6 traffic one half hour after the trial began. Akamai is averaging 287 hits/seconds -- a tenfold increase over IPv6 traffic levels prior to the event.

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