Window on WANs

Jun 23 2011   11:50AM GMT

World IPv6 Day recap

Tessa Parmenter Tessa Parmenter Profile: Tessa Parmenter

WORLD IPV6 DAY is 8 June 2011 – The Future is Forever

June 8, 2011 marked World IPv6 Day, the day where companies like Akamai, Facebook and Google simultaneously turned on IPv6 to see how it worked, where users were coming from and what connectivity broke down.

“Many people assume that everyone surfing Google or Facebook on that day used IPv6. The truth is that unless you had native IPv6 connectivity, you accessed those sites with IPv4 instead,” said IPv6 pioneer and security expert Fernando Gont.

In order to turn on IPv6 for the day, organizations had to add a AAAA DNS record to their main domain for 24 hours and accompany this with measurements, explained IPv6 expert, Silvia Hagen.

Adding these AAAA DNS records to primary domain names causes long timeouts (anywhere between 20-180 seconds) for many users who are not properly connected to IPv6, according to book author and Infoblox vice president of architecture, Cricket Liu. He said, “On World IPv6 Day, these big Web properties … deliberately attach[ed] these IPv6 addresses to those primary domain names to cause this [DNS IPv6 issue].”

What was the outcome of World IPv6 Day? While most participating IPv6 testers were able to connect to content, it was determined that IPv6 migration challenges still remain.

One bad IPv6 migration strategy is 6to4 tunneling. Unmanaged 6to4 tunnels are designed to transfer IPv6 packets over the IPv4 Internet, but are renowned for being “flakey … [and] a big source of problems,” said Matt Levine, director of mapping engineering at Akamai Technologies.

Some enterprise WAN managers who shared their IPv6 migration strategies for World IPv6 Day said IPv6 migration was much easier than anticipated. It was mostly fear and uncertainty holding the company back. However, finding IPv6-capable network appliances is proving to be a challenge for those embarking on an IPv6 transition. In particular, lagging IPv6 security features may hamper the transition.

Enterprises can learn better how to move to IPv6 in these articles on the least enterprises should do, namely, create a successful IPv6 migration strategy.

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