World IPv6 Day has been and gone, and the result is nothing but good news: everything went smoothly, nothing broke, and the Internet appears ready to begin its gradual transition towards the new addressing scheme over the next few years.
Organised by system administrators working for some of the biggest names on the net - including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, and caching expert Akamai - World IPv6 Day was a 24-hour test period of the new 128-bit addressing scheme that the Internet will require if it is to continue to grow.
While small-scale IPv6 deployments have been ongoing for quite some time, World IPv6 Day represented the biggest test yet. Although some had feared that the day might lead to rampant disconnections for customers of ISPs that haven't checked their systems thoroughly for compatibility problems, that doesn't appear to have been the case.
"The test flight was a success," declared Google's Lorenzo Colitti, a network engineer and self-described 'IPv6 Samurai.' "We carried about 65 per cent more IPv6 traffic than usual, saw no significant issues and did not have to disable IPv6 access for any networks or services. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be working together with the other participants to analyse the data we've collected, but, at least on the surface, the first global test of IPv6 passed without incident."
Other groups report similar results, with - predictable - massive boosts in IPv6 traffic carried without issue. "We saw a dramatic jump in IPv6 traffic beginning in the afternoon on June 8, increasing more than 2500 per cent," claimed Internap's vice president Amar Khan. He was quick to warn that that doesn't necessarily mean IPv6 is good to go, however.
"Outside of World IPv6 Day, enterprise customers are still not rushing to adopt IPv6 on a broad scale at this point, although we have seen a slow and steady increase in traffic in recent months," Khan claimed. "We'll likely begin to see more urgency when IPv4 space is fully exhausted and as IPv6-only content and websites come into existence."
With the Internet rapidly filling up, adoption of IPv6 is the only hope for continued growth. Following the success of World IPv6 Day, hopefully ISPs will discover that 128-bit addressing isn't so scary after all, and we'll start to see more rapid take-up of the standard.
For most World IPv6 Day companies, the Internet can now get back to normal. Google, however, has announced that it will continue to offer an opt-in IPv6 service under its 'Google over IPv6' programme for those who just can't get enough of the next-generation Internet.