IPv6 – global test day

June 14th, 2011 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

The day after World IPv6 test Day, it looks as if the Internet 1.0 has been getting back to its IPv4-borne normality. Monitoring centres report that the IPv6 has one again retreated to the shadows with traffic “falling off a cliff.”  For the 24-hour test period, which ran from midnight UTC (ET+4) on 8 June, IPv6 traffic appears to have roughly doubled but that means little because there are relatively few users.

As of midday Wednesday, the testing appeared to be going without a hitch, with none of those participating in the effort reporting any significant problems, said John Curran, chief executive of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). “It has been a remarkable success,” Curran said. World IPv6 Day boosted the amount of native IPv6 traffic on the Internet, but it mostly increased the use of transitional protocols that won’t help to solve the looming shortage of IPv4 addresses. Most of the additional traffic on Wednesday didn’t use IPv6, but rather a variety of protocols designed to allow IPv6 to coexist with networks dominated by IPv4. More than a thousand Web pages, including ones at Google, Facebook, Yahoo and other major destinations, temporarily were made available over both IPv6 and IPv4

Meanwhile Cisco predicts that the number of network-connected devices will be more than 15 billion, twice the world’s population, by 2015. In the fifth annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2010-2015) the company said the total amount of global Internet traffic will quadruple by 2015 and reach 966 exabytes per annum.

IPv6 is an IP address standard designed to replace the current IPv4 protocol, in use since the 1980s for routing Internet traffic. The new protocol  (available for several years) supports several magnitudes more address spaces than IPv4, while also providing better security and reliability.

Even so, few companies e upgraded to it because of the perceived complexity . That is expected to start quickly changing,  because the IPv4 protocol has almost run out of unique IP addresses for all the websites, computers and other devices that are connecting to the Internet on a daily basis.

IPv4 addresses are 32-bit numbers, while the IPv6 protocol uses 128-bit numbers. The difference is like a postal system with a five-digit ZIP code, compared to  one with a nine-digit ZIP code.  IPv4 systems were designed to handle smaller addresses, whereas IPv6 systems rely on 128-bit addresses.

A failure to properly accommodate the much longer address space in IPv6 by network vendors, security vendors, software makers and others may result in vulnerabilities such as buffer overflow flaws and those that enable denial-of-service attacks and address spoofing,

Enterprises willneed to support both protocols for several more years in order to ensure that their websites and services are accessible to others and vice versa; that could be a problem as well.

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