Today, is World IPv6 Launch day. But why? We all know the Internet is ‘running out’ of address space, why is there a whole day to make a fuss over it? For roughly a year since the first ‘World IPv6 Day‘ event, ISPs & content providers over the globe have been taking good advantage of a collaborated, community effort to make strides towards mitigating the effects of IPv4 exhaustion on their users by coordinating their IPv6 roll-out plans to coincide with a unified, permanent ‘launch date’. The hope that in doing so, more media attention (and thus, end-user attention) can be brought to the looming issue.
It’s not all good news, however, as many ISPs are still lagging behind their savvy competitors. Whilst content providers & ISPs should aim to be providing both IPv4 and IPv6 addressing concurrently, the Asia Pacific region is running-out of addresses faster than other major regions. Sooner than in Europe or North America, IPv6 will be the only option and those of us without IPv6 connectivity won’t be able to see that content at all — we will be missing portions of the Internet!
Some ISPs have historically responded to customer enquiries on IPv6 with responses akin to “we have plenty of IPv4 addresses, we don’t need IPv6”. This is not an answer to a world-wide shortage, as no amount of spare IPv4 addresses will allow you to reach an IPv6-only host across the Internet. It is why, ultimately, that events such as World IPv6 Launch day are required: to drive-home the importance of early adoption, before it starts affecting your access to the Internet.
Today, Melbourne are currently able to provide IPv6 address ranges & transit on ‘beta’ terms, which many customers are already utilising today. As Melbourne’s latest addition to the Networking team, one portion of my remit will be to pick-up any slack with our IPv6 roll-out and (together with the rest of the Melbourne engineering team) push our services towards complete “dual stack” service parity. My view is that IPv6 should be a standard offering on all services, in such a way that our customers can be depended upon as they already would with IPv4 today.
Whilst we’re working on it, I would welcome anyone already with us that is interested in joining the IPv6 beta, gets in touch by raising a support ticket. Furthermore, if you already have a functioning IPv6 allocation from us, I would really like to hear your thoughts on what could be improved; the execution, documentation or even visibility from the outside world.
As a little bonus of those of you with working IPv6 connectivity today (and as a mini exercise in driving adoption through demand), why not have a crack at Loops of Zen? It’s a basic puzzle game, created by the owners of pro-IPv6 ISP, Andrews & Arnold. It would be nothing special, if it weren’t only available to those with IPv6 connectivity! So, if you can’t play, ask your ISP what they’re doing about IPv6 on World IPv6 Launch day.
Tom Hill, Network Engineer @ Melbourne