What Happened on World IPv6 Day

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It’s less than two weeks since the June 8 “World IPv6 Day,” and the results came in clean during last week’s IPv6 Summit in Chicago.

The highlights from the half-day summit, which attracted network experts from ARIN, Best Buy, Comcast, Facebook, Time Warner Cable, Turner Broadcasting, among others:

• On the June 8 test day, Comcast’s call center volumes were normal; two-thirds of consumer calls fielded by Time Warner Cable were along the lines of “what’s all this about IPv6?”

• Thousands of websites turned on IPv6 - and left it on.

• When IPv4 was created in 1978, 4.3 billion addresses seemed like plenty. Now, with 7 billion people on the planet, many of whom regularly use as many as five devices with IP addresses, 4.3 billion seems … puny.

• The most frequently asked question of John Curran, CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN): Why is IPv6 not backwardscompatible to IPv4? “Because we already had millions approaching billions of v4 addresses out there that couldn’t be changed, or couldn’t be reliably updated to v6.”

• The transition to IPv6 will be hardest for broadband access providers, like cable. “Your customers want access to the entire Internet. If your neighbor can’t connect to a web site because it’s on the wrong protocol, he’s not going to think it’s his problem. He’s going to think it’s your problem.” (Curran)

The hit machine keeps rolling, when it comes to colorful ways to describe the largess of the IPv6 address space. Last week’s addition: If you were to cram all of the IPv4 addresses into a ball, it’d have the density of a golf ball. IPv6? A ball the size of the sun.

• The measure of success in transitioning is expressed in terms of things not broken: “World IPv6 day was pretty much a non-event, from a brokenness perspective.” (John Brzozowski, Comcast)

• Retailers wouldn’t venture a guess on what percentage of the IP-connectable consumer gadgets on their shelves are IPv4, vs. IPv6, and they’re concerned. “Any products that aren’t ready for IPv6 will cause return rates to go up. That not only drives up cost, but it keeps consumers on the sidelines - nobody wants to buy a product that doesn’t work right.” (Stephen Bosch, director of strategy and business development, Best Buy)

• Useful web links to stay current with the IPv6 transition: www.arin.net, www.getipv6.info, www.teamARIN.net.

• Content providers are finding it “relatively straightforward” to transition to IPv6. “The routers tend to work, load balancers and other appliances that go into providing a web site, those are improving in quality.” (Sam Gassel, Turner Broadcasting)

• Quote of the meeting, from Comcast’s IPv6 shepherd John Brzozowski, about World IPv6 day: “It was a wasted 37 hours of not sleeping, for me.”

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Stumped by gibberish? Visit Leslie Ellis at translation-please.com or multichannel.com/blog

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