Will World IPv6 Day Have Long-term Impact?

Carl Weinschenk

World IPv6 Day seems to have been a success, at least from the technical point of view. It remains to be seen what impact the special day will have on convincing recalcitrant companies to get on the IPv6 bandwagon.

Carol Wilson at Light Reading took a bit of a snarky attitude about the well-publicized day. The test, she wrote, is:

... an indication that the vast majority of the very small number of IPv6 connections that exist today aren't broken. Or if they are, their users don't care enough to call and complain.

She went on to report that live trackers from Akamai Technologies and the Internet Society both showed that traffic peaked earlier. She provides links to both.

Computerworld has a nice piece outlining some of the things that need to happen after World IPv6 Day ends. They include upgrading a variety of infrastructure elements, including end-user operating systems, routers, firewalls and servers; dealing with immaturity of the new protocol; guarding against security vulnerabilities; and the need to maintain dual stack, IPv4 and IPv6 service well into the future.

Sandvine, a deep packet inspection (DPI) vendor, suggested that things went well. That also was the view of Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at ZDNet, who offers a more detailed technical explanation of how the Internet fared on June 8. The bottom line is that it did quite well:

Behind the scenes, I'm keeping in touch with ISP and IPv6 network administrators and help desk staff and they're seeing no real trouble either from the Internet administration viewpoint or from their users. To quote one of my network engineer friends at a tier two ISP, "My Customer Support team has told me that it [World IPv6 Day] has turned out to be a non-event for them, so this counts as a big win for the IPv6 Internet to me!"

Vaughan-Nichols did relate some details suggesting that a decent amount of work needs to be done in the longer haul:

For people using IPv6 from their home or office, 94% of sites aren't showing up correctly with AAAA address records on the Internet's master address list: the Domain Name System (DNS). AAAA records are used to store mappings between hostnames, for example, www.google.com, and IPv6 addresses. Without a valid AAAA record, clients that rely solely on AAAA for address resolutions can't reach these sites. That said, since most PC TCP/IP networking stacks fall back to using IPv4's A record for DNS address resolution, most users won't even see this problem. This issue will need to be dealt with by the various sites in due time.

That's the technology of the day. It will take a bit longer to determine how the PR battle went. One good sign, however, was that the Internet's big day won it a spot on "PBS NewsHour" with Jim Lehrer.

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