World IPv6 Launch Gives Crowded Internet Much Needed Breathing Room

Paul Lilly

If you're reading this, you must be online, and if you're online, let us say 'Welcome to a larger Internet.' Today kicks off the World IPv6 Launch event organized by the Internet Society and intended to bring major internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world together to enable and embrace the IPv6 protocol for their products and services.

Count Google among them. As the sultan of search points out , few could have imagined that the Internet today would serve nearly 2.5 billion people and 11 billion devices when it was launched operationally back in 1983. But that's what happened, and suddenly the Internet is running out of addresses.

As constructed, there's room for around 4.3 billion addresses. Internet Protocol version 6 expands that number exponentially, to "about 340 trillion, trillion, trillion!," Google says.

"Today's World IPv6 Launch, coordinated by the Internet Society, marks the day that participating websites, Internet Service Providers (ISP), and network hardware manufacturers switch on IPv6 permanently in parallel with IPv4," Google said in a blog post. "We’re proud to be one of the founding participants; virtually all Google’s services have been available over IPv6 for a while, but IPv6 access was only available to networks participating in the 'Google over IPv6' program. From now on, they will be made available to any IPv6 network on the Internet (well, almost any ).

IPv6 still has a ways to go in terms of widespread adoption. Most ISPs haven't embraced the new standard yet, and the same is true for many websites. Not all home network equipment supports IPv6 either, though some can be upgraded with a relatively simple firmware updates. Others will need to be replaced entirely.

Are you ready? If you want to test your setup and infrastructure, head here .

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