World IPv6 Launch Day is here: the beginnings of the bigger internet

Credit: Wikipedia

If you’ve been on the internet for a long time, you may vaguely remember hearing something about IPv4 and IPv6. However, you probably dismissed them or just simply forgot about them, as to most people they are meaningless and don’t affect our lives. Unfortunately, there is a very big technical issue with the internet right now: IPv4. Every time you connect to a website, your computer needs to find an IP address, which is sort of like looking up a number in a phone book.

Now imagine that there’s enough numbers 4.3 billion people and over 4.3 billion people want phone numbers. This is the core of the issue with IPv4: there’s not enough numbers for each device to get its own. To solve this, engineers came up with IPv6, a new protocol that allows for 340 billion billion billion billion numbers. Problem solved! With around five billion devices on the internet, IPv6 will last us for longer than we can imagine. (We hope.)

Unfortunately, IPv6 is not widely adopted for usage yet, which is a bit crazy to think about. Today, World IPv6 Launch day, is an attempt to change that: today, internet providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as major internet properties like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, are all turning on IPv6 in an attempt to start up the network of the future.

Turning on IPv6 today does not mean that IPv4 will simply disappear. While its use will gradually diminish, even today it has a major amount of marketshare left. Comcast, for instance, has observed that 5% of users will be able to take advantage of IPv6 when they flip the switch today, as they need to ship out new devices and software updates for existing devices to enable IPv6.

If you’re interested in seeing which major companies, like AT&T and Yahoo!, are on board for IPv6 Launch Day, you can visit Launch Day’s official website, which includes various promotional gear such as downloadable icons and wallpapers. Or, you can watch Google’s official Launch Day video, which explains with graphics the history of IPv4 and IPv6:

[World IPv6 Launch via The Verge]

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  1. Josh


    Thank you very much for the info, lol768. It seems then that this will not have any immediate effect, which gives me time to discuss it with my ISP. Also, again, thanks to Locutus for making us aware of this.

  2. lol768

    @Josh: Most routers do support ipv6. Many ISPs don’t. It is likely both will be in concurrent use until ipv4 begins to fade out. It shouldn’t change browsing speeds, and website domains and URLs will remain the same. This is because DNS will still be in use. IP addresses (unique identifiers) will change. Instead of an address like you will have a longer series of hex numbers. E.g. A401:FE01:D5FF:A30F:0000:0000:0000:0000
    This page is quite interesting:

  3. Josh

    Thanks for making us aware of IPv6. Unfortunately, I still have no idea what I need to do or how exactly it is going to affect my present setup, that is; will my equipment, browsers, etc., still function on all sites?. Will it make the net slower or some sites inaccessible if I do not have it? What am I supposed to do in order to use it? The links provided here, are inadequate. The launch site is vague and of little use to me and learning about the history is even less useful. Links to sites that explain the effect on current home users (who cannot afford to employ professional technicians) would have made the report more valuable. For the average, non-geeky user this means spending hours on Google trying to get info that is understandable, practical and useful.

  4. mukhi

    my comments gonna be out of topic…sorry Locutus, i like your articles…
    i am sad to see all consumer based PC routers STILL have the WPS vulnerability that has been a pending task and immediately needs to be fixed. such a pity. come on developers.
    IPv6 is nice but WPS fix would be nicer!!! i am so afraid to use WLAN for my banking and all…

  5. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @RobCr: I think modems and routers. In any case, I feel the need to ship new devices is overexagerated. The need for IPv6 is nothing new; it has been around for years. Anyone that has bought a modem/router recently likely already has an IPv6-supported device which, at the most, should only require a software update (if anything is required at all).

  6. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    Anyone know if less developed nations are taking part in this? Id assume they are.

    @Locutus: Typo at ” Now imagine that there’s enough numbers 4.3 billion people and over 4.3 billion people want phone numbers.”?

    @Locutus: Funny tags xD

  7. RobCr

    Thanks for the heads up.
    I had been deleting other emails that mentioned ‘IPv6’ as I assumed that it was some new fangled thingy, that I did not need to know about.
    But since one of those emails was from you, I thought maybe I should open it (your email), just in case it affected me.

    “they need to ship out new devices”
    Would that be the modem in our home ?