World IPv6 Day, June 8, came and went with nary a glitch. The Internet Society (ISOC) organized the event to help motivate organizations worldwide to prepare their services for the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. (For more see, Why Care About IPv6?).

More than 1,000 websites (including Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Akamai, Limelight Networks, Comcast, Vonage, Harvard University, Huawei and Cisco) and Internet service providers joined together for the global-scale, 24-hour test flight of the new Internet protocol.

Noted the ISOC, "The event helped demonstrate that major websites around the world are well-positioned for the move to a global IPv6-enabled Internet. A key goal of World IPv6 Day was to expose potential issues with real-world IPv6 use under controlled conditions. Given the diversity of technology that powers the Internet, the global nature of the trial was crucial to identify unforeseen problems. The vast majority of users were able to access services as usual, but in rare cases, users experienced impaired access to participating websites during the trial."

A Google statement read, "The test flight was a success. World IPv6 Day is over, and IPv6 access to Google services remains enabled only for users in the Google-over-IPv6 program. We carried about 65 percent 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 analyze the data we’ve collected, but, at least on the surface, the first global test of IPv6 passed without incident."

John Jason Brzozowski, chief architect for IPv6 and distinguished engineer for Comcast, told CT Reports, "We’ve been at this (the v6 program) for almost six years. It (the test) went very well. You always find opportunities for improvement. Our overall state of readiness was as expected. The increase in traffic volume was the most notable thing. There are always tweaks you need to make, but v6 was no different than any other technology you introduce into the network."

Some Tier-1 MSOs used Sandvine’s Policy Traffic Switch (PTS) to closely monitor network performance during the trial. Sandvine compared data collected from these North American MSOs for both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic, before and during the event.

According to a blog posting by Don Bowman, Sandvine’s CTO, "Overall, we found IPv6 downstream traffic and connections (number of TCP sessions) increased substantially above typical levels, but remained relatively low in comparison to IPv4 (which exceeds native IPv6 traffic by a factor of about 1,000).”

Sandvine measured a predictable spike in IPv6 traffic the moment at which IPv6 Day officially began, followed by other spikes at various points throughout the day, usually corresponding to the peak evening hours of each time zone.

"When examining IPv6 traffic itself, transition protocols seemed to show more significant gains than native IPv6 – 6to4 protocol usage increased 10 times, 6over4 increased 5 times, while native IPv6 and Teredo usage patterns remained relatively unchanged," wrote Bowman. "In terms of the quality delivered to end subscribers, when measured by the access round-trip time, IPv6 performed as well as IPv4. Overall, this is the metric that is most relevant to users, and underscores the fact that IPv6 Day was a smooth test flight."

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily

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