Slowly but surely the Web warms up to new protocol

A number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), hardware makers and websites, including a few from India, will start running IPv6, a new generation Internet protocol, permanently from June 6. It is part of a global effort to move away from the IPv4 regime that now rules the cyberspace.

But the ‘World IPv6 Launch,' being spearheaded by the global non-profit organisation, Internet Society, will make little difference to most users for, they will most probably continue to use IPv4 by default, as the switch to IPv6 is possible only when their computers, the networks and the content and service providers are ready for it.

The Internet Society says major ISPs, home-networking equipment manufacturers and web companies will join the global initiative, which comes after a test drive conducted on June 11, 2011, when many companies went the IPv6 way for a day.

Version 4 is made up of a set of numbers that helps to identify web addresses, facilitating communication from one point to the other. With the rapid expansion of Internet, the sets of numbers that could be used as digital addresses started getting exhausted. This necessitated a new version that offers an almost inexhaustible address pool.

The ISPs taking part in the launch will try to run IPv6 for at least 1per cent of their residential wire-line Internet subscribers. And importantly, companies offering web-based services — such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo — will make it possible for users deploying IPv6 to use their sites. Participating home-networking equipment makers such as Cisco and D-Link will enable IPv6 by default on their products by June 6.

The handful of organisations and companies from India taking part in the initiative at the time when was written included ISP Sify, Bangalore International Airport (website), ERNET (Education and Research Network) and Bharat Heavy Electricals.

“Although the registration deadline is May 30 — so there is still time — we don't have much in the way of commitments from India yet. Perhaps, the service providers are not in a position to commit by June 6, but we do look forward to their being able to turn on IPv6 services soon. We don't expect everyone to be able to do so immediately, and most will need to work through a transition plan, and perhaps we may see some further action in the coming months,” said Rajnesh D. Singh, regional director, Asia-Pacific Bureau of the Internet Society. He said there was awareness in the country on need for transition to IPv6.

“For the potential size of networks in India, the only solution for network operators [including mobile operators offering 3G] is IPv6; anything else is at best a band-aid solution, an interim measure that can affect network performance and user experience,” Mr. Singh said.

The message that the Internet Society is trying to deliver through the launch is that leading companies are getting set for the next major milestone in the evolution of Internet and that the deployment of the new protocol is no longer being viewed as something that is to be taken forward experimentally.

“World IPv6 Launch acts as a focal point to bring the existing transition efforts and industry players together, to work towards the common goal of permanently deploying IPv6 on the global Internet. By acting together on the World IPv6 Launch, ISPs, web companies, and equipment vendors are able to cooperatively address common challenges,” says the IPv6 launch website.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 6:12:16 PM |

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