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World IPv6 Day: Tech industry's most-watched event since Y2K

Carolyn Duffy Marsan, Network World | June 8, 2011
The nation's largest telecom carriers, content providers, hardware suppliers and software vendors will be on the edge of their seats tonight for the start of World IPv6 Day, which is the most-anticipated 24 hours the tech industry has seen since fears of the Y2K bug dominated New Year's Eve in 1999.

-- software suppliers such as Microsoft, Mozilla and Nominum.

Other participants include universities such as Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute, government agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration, and tech industry groups such as the W3C.

Preparing for World IPv6 Day required a significant amount of planning, engineering work and testing, said Alain Fiocco, who leads the IPv6 program at Cisco.

"We had to work with our DNS provider and work with our ISP to make sure we had good connectivity and a redundant path to the ISP. These are the traditional things that you would do for a good, production-quality IPv4 network," Fiocco says. "We haven't really uncovered any big technical issues, nothing that was a show-stopper. So we feel pretty good about where we are today."

Cisco set up an IPv6 war room that will monitor its website and network activity for the 24-hour trial. The company also beefed up its technical support information available online and is allowing customers to share their experiences on World IPv6 Day.

"Over the last few weeks, we've been prolific in giving people advice on what to do, how to prepare and what kind of configurations to use. For that day, we have a plan in place to support our customers," Fiocco says. "There's been a lot of prep work and a lot of education for our own people."

Router manufacturer Juniper conducted a dry run a week ago, aiming IPv6 traffic at its website for a couple of hours to prepare for World IPv6 Day.

"Everything was fine, so we are confident that we will be OK," says Alain Durand, director of software engineering at Juniper. "There were lots of T's to cross and lots of I's to dot, but nothing really that difficult to prepare."

Throughout World IPv6 Day, participants will be monitoring their networks to study IPv6 traffic volumes and patterns and to look for security threats. 

"What we're going to look for is to see the locations where users are coming from, what kind of links they have, [if] there are any botnets, and could there be URLs we should blacklist," says Qing Li, chief scientist and senior technologist at Blue Coat, which is a World IPv6 Day participant. "We're going to do packet analysis to see if anyone is trying to circumvent our security policies and if any of the traffic contains actual malware."

Verizon is anticipating an increase in IPv6 traffic on the Verizon Business networks that are IPv6 enabled as well as on its LTE wireless network, which supports both IPv6 and IPv4 in what's called a dual-stack configuration. Verizon plans to reach out to its customers on social media platforms to encourage them to try IPv6 during the trial.

 

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