So far, so good with World IPv6 Day

Internet monitor reports no big problems or slowdowns during test

With World IPV6 Day in full swing, the test flight of the Internet's new communications protocol is going smoothly.

The 24-hour global test run hasn't hit any major glitches, according to a spokesman for Arbor Networks, an Internet security company monitoring the IPv6 activity.

"We didn't see any big problems or slowdowns today. Things went much as they had the day before," said the spokesman, who added that Arbor Networks doesn't have information on how the more than 200 companies participating in the test are fairing individually.

While the number of IPv6 users is still quite small compared to the vast majority that are still using IPV4 today, Scott Iekel-Johnson, an Arbor Networks product manager, noted that the overall levels of IPv6 traffic remain higher today by about 30% to 60% compared to other days.

"We take this to be an encouraging sign that IPv6 adoption is growing and more users are finding IPv6 access, and in particular more users are able to access the Internet via native IPv6 as opposed to being forced to use one of the tunneling protocols to get through IPv4-only portions of the Internet," added Iekel-Johnson.

Internet companies and industry analysts have anticipated this day for several months. Major companies, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Verizon and Facebook, today are giving IPv6 a whirl to see how it works.

IPv4, the Internet's main communications protocol, quickly is running out of unique IP addresses for all of the computers, smartphones and other mobile devices that need to be connected to the Internet. Hence, the development of an upgrade -- IPv6 -- which is said to provide more than 4 billion times more addresses than IPv4.

Some people, though, are concerned that migrating to IPv6 will be time consuming and expensive. World IPv6 Day was designed to test IPv6 and see how well it works. Internet users today can think of themselves as test pilots orr guinea pigs.

Participating companies flipped the switch for the 24-hour test at 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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