[AfrICANN-discuss] On the IPv6-only Internet

Pierre Dandjinou dandjinou.pierre at undp.org
Tue Apr 1 08:02:44 SAST 2008

I thought this excerpt from the ISOC member newsletter of March might be of




2. Features


IETF 71 Samples the IPv6-only Internet

- Contributed by Leslie Daigle


In mid-March, the IETF put a spotlight on the next generation of Internet
addressing by switching off attendees' access to IPv4 during its Wednesday
plenary meeting. For an hour, Internet engineers at the meeting could only
access the Internet using an IPv6 network; their machines had to connect to
the network using IPv6, and they could only reach other IPv6 Internet sites.
By choosing not to provide IPv4/IPv6 protocol translation (NAT-PT), this
event was targeted a little differently than similar ones at NANOG and
APRICOT meetings earlier in the year. Stepping beyond questions of
transition, the intent was to provide engineers with some first-hand
experience in working with IPv6 in the wild.


The network managers for these events are well-versed in providing IPv6
connectivity, so it was clear from the outset that providing IPv6 would not
be the challenge. Russ Housley, Chair of the IETF, announced the planned
"IPv4 outage" in December, giving prospective attendees plenty of time to
prepare. The subsequent discussion on the IETF's general discussion mailing
list highlighted that the biggest hurdle would be user reluctance. In many
ways, this mirrors the state of IPv6 diffusion in the world today.


Nevertheless, the announcement clearly motivated several IETF attendees to
prepare for the event. Several made sure that their home networks and
Internet resources were IPv6-capable in time for the event. The big news of
the day was Google's announcement, at the IETF meeting, of an
IPv6-accessible site for their search engine (http://ipv6.google.com
<http://ipv6.google.com/> ). 

This drew a round of appreciative applause from the plenary attendees.


At its peak, about 190 computers were connected to the IPv6-only network
during the IETF plenary IPv6-only hour, reaching out to a combined total of
some 750 different global IPv6 addresses. The biggest hurdle was known in
advance of the plenary meeting:  Windows XP does not support DNS resolution
over IPv6. But persistence and a quick fix to BIND software allowed a work
around for the intent Windows XP users!


Relatively few glitches were reported, though there were some challenges
with global routing. This is not surprising, given that IPv6 deployment is
still only as diffused as the very early days of the Internet.


No single one of these IPv6 events is going to cause an instant increase in
the amount of IPv6 activity on the Internet. However, they are breaking down
the barriers of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, allowing core Internet
engineers and operators to discuss "how" to deploy IPv6, not "if" IPv6 is
deployable. For the IETF, the value of this event will be seen in on-going
working group meetings, as more participants have their own first-hand IPv6
usage experience to draw on.


Information about the IETF 71 IPv6 event, including notes of lessons learned
and pointers to related materials, are available at:



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