World IPv6 Day sees double the IPv6 traffic and a special Microsoft patch

Microsoft was among the major website operators that helped make Wednesday's World IPv6 Day a reality. Microsoft issued a Fix-it patch to smooth any rough spots Windows users may have had during the day of experimental IPv6 connectivity to some of the world's biggest websites. It is a unique patch because it will automatically expire on June 10.

IPv6 sticker
The Fix It hoped to stop some PCs from growing confused when asked to connect to dual-protocol Web sites. As Microsoft's Christopher Palmer explained on the Windows Networking IPv6 blog, "One thing that we hope to assess and isolate is how many users might lose network connectivity when accessing web sites that support dual IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity, a situation called 'IPv6 Brokenness.' For example, it is possible that a misconfiguration of your Internet connection can make it hard for your computer and browser to pick the right IP address to contact. This problem might require usage of the IPv6 Brokenness fix that we have made available on Knowledge Base."

The Fix It resolved the problem by configuring Windows to prefer IPv4, instead of IPv6. "By default, Windows prefers IPv6 over IPv4. This Fix It solution is temporary, to resolve issues on World IPv6 Day for affected Internet users. On June 10, 2011 at 12:00AM, your computer will be configured to prefer IPv6 again after your next reboot," Palmer wrote.

(Aside: This Fix It did not address the IPv6 hole I wrote about last month: Microsoft, Juniper urged to patch dangerous IPv6 DoS hole and How to use a known IPv6 hole to fast freeze a Windows Network )

By the way, Microsoft has also released a guide to walk you through working with IPv6 in a Windows environment. Test Lab Guide: Demonstrate IPv6. More Microsoft IPv6 tests can be found here.

And before you start testing IPv6, I also recommend reading Rand Morimoto's tutorial series on how to configure your Windows network for IPv6.

As a one-day test, some Website operators will be turning off their IPv6 sites and fixing whatever problems occurred but the hope of the IPv6 community is that many will just leave them on. "I think the world is ready for IPv6 and World IPv6 Day showed that IPv6 isn’t that big of a deal," Scott Hogg told me yesterday when I asked him how he thought the experiment was going. He then wrote a comprehensive post on the issues, nor non-issues, that each of the major vendors that participated experienced, including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Cisco.

Yesterday, I had posted a list of live statistics on how World IPv6 Day was going: World IPv6 Day: Status report and how to test your connection. I asked the folks at Arbor Networks, one of the sites performing IPv6 monitoring of the event, about how the day faired. Scott Iekel-Johnson, Product Manager at Arbor Networks, answered my questions

How much IPv6 traffic did you see on World IPv6 Day and how much more was this than on a typical day?

Overall, IPv6 traffic almost doubled during the 24 hour period of IPv6 day, and even still remains somewhat higher than it was previous to IPV6 day. We think almost doubling the amount of IPv6 traffic in the Internet is a significant achievement, and shows great progress in rolling out IPv6 services more broadly.  Obviously there is still a long way to go, but we think yesterday shows that we are on the right track and making progress.

What were the biggest surprises … what broke?  What didn’t break/happen that people were concerned about (there was some talk that maybe hackers would cause problems)?

We did not see any indications of outages or technical problems in any of our data, or reported in the press. One of the things that we looked at as an indication of possible problems was total provider Internet traffic (both IPv4 and IPv6).  If the switch to IPv6 caused major problems you would expect that to be reflected in a dip in the total traffic volume.  That did not happen -- total traffic volumes stayed the same day-over-day, it's just that slightly more of that traffic was IPv6.

What else can you say about what IPv6 day to underscore IPv6 readiness?

We believe the test was a success, and shows that IPv6 has the potential to grow to be a much higher percentage of Internet traffic than it is today.  Almost doubling the amount of IPv6 traffic is a significant achievement.  There is still a long way to go and we have to keep working toward end-to-end IPv6 adoption, but we are making definite progress compared to where things were even a few years ago.

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