Is IPv6 Ready for Its Closeup?

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On June 8, the Internet’s next-generation protocol will get its biggest workout to date.

Several cable operators are planning to participate in World IPv6 Day on June 8 — including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Bright House Networks and GCI — as well as others including Verizon. During the 24-hour event, the MSOs plan to conduct subscriber tests of IPv6 to determine how subscribers will interact with their websites and those of companies including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Akamai Technologies and Limelight Networks.

World IPv6 Day, organized by the not-for-profit Internet Society, is a global “test flight” designed to try to sniff out where the weak spots are — whether that’s in operating systems, web browsers or networking equipment. The immediate need to move to IPv6 is because the pool of IPv4 addresses — some 4.29 billion of them — have been allocated to the regional registries (including the American Registry for Internet Numbers, or ARIN) that dole them out to network providers worldwide. IPv6 provides a very, very large number of addresses: approximately 340 trillion trillion trillion, or 2 to the 128th power (see Internet Runs Out of Addresses).

According to a CableLabs announcement, subscribers are encouraged to check whether their devices are ready for World IPv6 Day in advance of June 8 by visiting http://test-ipv6.com. If issues are detected, subscribers can check ARIN’s website for troubleshooting help: http://www.getipv6.info/index.php/Customer_problems_that_could_occur.

“The adoption of IPv6 requires a joint effort by the worldwide networking community, and we enthusiastically join with our customers, peers, partners, suppliers and competitors in working together to make this a success,” Don Detampel, Charter’s executive vice president of technology and president of commercial services, said in a statement.

During World IPv6 Day, while 99.98% of all Internet users shouldn’t encounter any issues, some devices with older operating systems or router software — particularly in home networks — may experience “impaired access” to participating websites during the trial, according to CableLabs.

Findings from the event will be a topic at the NCTA’s 2011 Cable Show, which will include the one-day IPv6 Summit on Tuesday, June 14, at McCormick Place in Chicago (see Cable Show To Include Track On Looming IPv6 Transition).

Also note: I will be moderating a free Multichannel News webinar on IPv6, Building the Next-Gen Internet: How to Manage the Move to IPv6, on June 22, 2 p.m. EDT. Speakers are scheduled to include Comcast distinguished engineer and chief architect for IPv6 John Brzozowski; Cisco fellow Fred Baker; and ARIN president and CEO John Curran. Get more info and sign up here: www.multichannel.com/ipv6.

More IPv6 coverage from Multichannel News:

* Comcast Kicks Off IPv6 Over DOCSIS Test

* Cox Testing IPv6 With Business Customers

* Cisco Readies For The Day Current Internet Addresses Run Out

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