Exactly six years since the shutdown of the experimental IPv6 network, the 6bone [RFC 3701], 6 June 2012 marked another step toward progress in the universal deployment of IPv6. World IPv6 Launch saw major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and Web companies around the world coming together to enable IPv6 for their products and services permanently. This launch event, organized by the Internet Society, saw regular business operations with IPv6 ‘on by default’ become a reality around the globe. The ultimate goal is commercially supported IPv6 products and services at Internet scale by the end of 2012.
The need for IPv6 deployment and the advantages of an open, globally addressable network should be very familiar to readers of the IETF Journal. In a nutshell, the healthy future of the Internet depends on the rapid deployment of IPv6. World IPv6 Launch served to accelerate planning for some, encourage adoption for others, and helped define IPv6 as the ‘new normal’ for global internetworking.
In order to ensure real and lasting impacts from the initiative, strict criteria were established for the three participant categories. For access networks, a commitment to make IPv6 part of their regular business was required. This meant new subscribers getting IPv6 on by default from 6 June 2012 and no special user configuration required to access the IPv6 Internet. To enable verification of progress towards this goal, access networks were also required to be delivering 1 percent of visits to major IPv6-enabled websites over IPv6 by 6 June. The level of IPv6 usage depends on the IPv6 capabilities and configuration of home networks, so the enabled customer base needed to be greater than 1 percent to reach this target. Measurements were made by the major website participants to verify meaningful participation.
The second category of participant was home router vendors. Again, the requirement was that IPv6 become part of regular business. This meant a majority of products shipping with IPv6 on by default, meaning no user configuration is required to use IPv6. The University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab provided independent verification of IPv6 interoperability.
Finally, websites wishing to participate were required to enable IPv6 access to their main website permanently, meaning IPv6-enabled users can now access their content over IPv6 without any additional configuration.
Industry leaders in all three categories of participation made early commitments to the Launch and welcomed additional commitments from others.
World IPv6 Launch by the Numbers
2,696: Website participants now available over IPv6
60: Network operators who are delivering over 1% IPv6 traffic
5: Home-router vendor participants
: The combined impact of World IPv6 Day (2011) and World IPv6 Launch is illustrated by the number of IPv6-enabled websites in this global ranking by Lars Eggert.