World IPv6 Day took place on June 8, 2011 and was a resounding success.
IPv6 is the next generation of the Internet Protocol, and defines how computers communicate and address each other across networks. The current version of the Internet Protocol, IPv4, is not able to support the growing number of devices connected to the Internet. This concern, amongst other issues, is driving the Internet to upgrade to IPv6. IPv6 provides critical performance and architecture improvements for all networks, and will enable a better, faster, and more capable Internet.
World IPv6 Day was a one-day test of IPv6 support, with dozens of web sites across the technology industry enabling IPv6 access for a 24 hour period. Here at Microsoft, we were able to provide IPv6 access to www.microsoft.com, www.bing.com and www.xbox.com as well as Microsoft advertising services, without any incident.
As expected, we’re happy to report that the test of the next-generation Internet went entirely well, both for Microsoft Web properties and for properties across the Internet. The number of users who access participating websites is well into the millions, and the data derived from World IPv6 Day will be immensely helpful in moving the IPv6 transition along.
On World IPv6 Day, we were looking to accomplish three goals:
- Verify that websites could support IPv6 without causing connectivity issues for users.
- Drive high volumes of web traffic through the next generation Internet as a verification of its stability.
- Obtain a full account of the engineering issues involved in supporting IPv6 at scale.
In each of these areas, World IPv6 Day provided positive and better-than-expected results. We know that prior to World IPv6 Day, there were several concerns about security and instability on the IPv6 Internet, and we’re happy that we didn’t run into any notable issues. While in-depth analysis will take some time, preliminary findings show that the number of users negatively affected by World IPv6 Day was very, very low.
As expected, less than 1 percent of users possess IPv6 access today. However, we’re confident that Internet service providers will accelerate IPv6 deployments. This is an area where considerable investment is critical to ensure a smooth transition to the next-generation Internet.
World IPv6 Day was only a day and most properties disabled IPv6 support after the 24-hour period. On schedule, Bing.com and Microsoft.com deactivated IPv6 support at the end of the testing period, and are now working towards providing permanent IPv6 support.
Given the preparations and success of World IPv6 Day, the Xbox team decided to maintain IPv6 support indefinitely for their Web properties: www.xbox.com, live.xbox.com, and marketplace.xbox.com. For those properties in particular, the effort for World IPv6 Day delivered much of the necessary infrastructure required for permanent support.
The next generation of the Internet is coming soon. We are proud to have been an early leader in defining the transition, and we’re by the growing confidence that the IPv6 transition is progressing smoothly and quickly.
- Chris Palmer, Windows Networking