Today, many of the large technology organizations (such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai, Limelight Networks, etc.) will be offering their content over IPv6 for a 24-hour “test flight”. The goal of the Test Flight Day is to motivate organizations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.
The test marks a big transition on the web from public to private initiative. In the 1970s, DARPA began funding research that would eventually lead to the creation of the first Internet Protocol address system. By the 1980s, DARPA rolled out the Internet to the public, with the fourth revision of the address system, IPv4, as its standard. Yet now, as IPv4 is all but tapped out, the solution to the problem won’t come from DARPA–the solution has fallen on the shoulders of big private tech companies. “World IPv6 Day was driven primarily by the large websites,” Facebook’s Donn Lee says. “To my knowledge, there was no requests to the government to migrate to IPv6.”
Last summer, the ball started rolling at an IPv6 conference, when Google engineer Lorenzo Colitti began discussing a solution with Lee. “Lorenzo essentially had this idea that Google couldn’t turn on IPv6 by themselves, but if we could get a few of us to agree to turn it on at the same time, then we might be able to do it,” Lee recalls. “I went back back to Facebook and asked whether we could do this. After we talked it over, I called up Lorenzo, and said, ‘I think I can make this thing happen.’ And we thought we’d probably only need to add one more company. If any one pulled out, it would fall, like a three-legged stool. We essentially went to Yahoo and said, ‘Two of us are in, we need one more, can you be the third?'”
So what does this all mean to YOU the individual consumer of internet technology? Today, not much. Tomorrow, probably not much either except a browser refresh and a few configuration changes – maybe…
It is comforting to see that the large providers of internet technology service are working together to work through this inevitable event that must be addressed (in my opinion, this is much more of a significant chain of events that the proposed Y2K switch was 11 years ago).
Find out more about the overall event here.