Internet giants to test IPv6

Web address

A number of leading websites are preparing to trial IPv6 later this year in a bid to encourage others to follow suit.

Google, Facebook and Yahoo all plan to switch over to IPv6, the new version of domain names, for 24 hours on 8 June, raising awareness within the industry that the move needs to made.

The day referred to as World IPv6 Day also aims to highlight any bugs in hardware and software preventing users accessing IPv6 sites and give vendors a chance to fix problems, hopefully before IPv4 runs out.

"As a next generation protocol, IPv6 provides a vast number of addresses by today's standards four billion times the number that are available under IPv4," said Donn Lee, an engineer at Facebook, in a blog post.

"Telecom carriers, ISPs, OS makers, hardware manufacturers, web companies and Governments around the world are depending on IPv6 to continue growth of the Internet. World IPv6 Day is an important step that enables the technology to move forward in a globally coordinated setting."

They won't have long to convince any sceptics to convert though. In November last year, Vint Cerf, commonly referred to as one of the "fathers of the internet," warned the industry IPv4 addresses were running out rapidly and would be gone by the end of the year.

"We are going to burn out," he warned. "It is not flipping a switch day,' we must run IPv4 and IPv6 in parallel and [move over]."

Cerf also advocated the Government getting actively involved with encouraging the move, even to the extent of offering incentive in the form of tax credits.

"You would have to do the math, see what happened and the impact it would have, but creating some business incentives might be helpful," he added.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.