Is your Website IPv6 Compatible?

When connected to the Internet, every computer or mobile device is alloted an IP address.  Internet Protocol version 4 (Ipv4) is the standard IP address that has been in use for a very long time.

Many leading ISPs (including AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Free Tellecom, KDDI (Japan), Free Telecom (France), Internode, and XS4ALL (Netherlands) and Internet companies, on June 6, permanently turned on IPv6, the next-generation networking technology, to complement their existing network infrastructure.

SO, WHY THIS TRANSITION ?

The IPv4 was designed in late 1970s. When it was designed, it was an inconceivable thought that it could ever be exhausted. But, with the ever-changing technology and the inability of IPv4 to assign any more addresses due to over-exhaustion, the IPv4 address space was absolutely used-up by 1992. By this point, it was evident that a replacement was required. So, considering the fact that IPv4 has already overshot the number of addresses it can assign, no more new devices will receive an IPv4 address when connecting to the Internet.

The obvious difference between both the address spaces is the address length. The problem in IPv4 is that the maximum length of the addresses can only be 32 bits. On the other hand, the size of an address in IPv6 is 128 bits which is four-times longer than the IPv4 address. Its interesting to note, that the IPv6 address space is so vast that it can provide 6.65×1023 addresses for every square meter of the Earth’s surface.

WHAT CONSTITUTES AN IPv6  ADDRESS ?

An IPv6 address is 128 bits in length and consists of eight, 16-bit fields, with each field bounded by a colon. Each field must contain a hexadecimal number, in contrast to the dotted-decimal notation of IPv4 addresses. In the image below, the x’s represent hexadecimal numbers.

IPv6 rollout will bring in a big change for top internet companies such as Google,Yahoo, Microsoft’s Bing, Facebook, and many others when they switch to this “transition”.  IPv6 Proxy can  be used if you want see if a particular URL supports IPv6 or not . Given below is a screenshot of how the IPv6 proxy setting looks like. IPv6 provides an almost limitless supply of IP addresses.

 

The video below will give you important insights about the IPv3 launch.

WILL THE WEB GAINTS MAKE THE SWITCH FROM IPv4 TO IPv6?

GOOGLE is in the process to adopt IPv6. This page provides details about the Google’s ongoing process to adopt IPv6, also featuring other countries where it is most adopted. Infact Google is working on this process for a long time now (ipv6.google.com provides a preview of this support).

Jason Freidenfelds, Manager, Global Communications and Public Affairs at Google said that completely switching over to IPv6 on some sites might disturb the user experience. He also said that this transition will definitely go all live but, gradually. He also added, that the percentage of Google users with IPv6 has grown by 140% (2.4x) over the last year. Freidenfelds also says “If the growth continues on a similar curve over the next few years, we should see really significant adoption”.

According to Kevin Boske, IPv6 Program Manager for BING said that this rollout will be global. As on date, IPv6 for Bing is less than 1% of traffic. But Boske also says that since this process is gradual, the adoption of IPv6 will accelerate in coming years!

Kevin Boske added, “On June 8, we will enable worldwide IPv6 connectivity to Bing.com, for the purposes of a one-day test,” Bing program manager Kevin Boske said. “Consumers with IPv6 Internet capabilities will automatically access this new method of connectivity. This necessitates both a device that supports IPv6 (like a Windows 7 PC), and support from your Internet provider.”

According to YAHOO’S Fesler, it will be rolling out dual stack IPv4 / IPv6 support for its CDN. It has also added support across many of its web properties like the Yahoo Front Page, News, OMG, and Shine.

According to a report by Network World, FACEBOOK said that it was offering “experimental, non-production” support for IPv6. The news about Facebook’s IPv6 support was expected; Facebook told Network World in February 2010, that it planned to support native IPv6 user requests “by the midpoint of this year.”

Facebook’s network engineers said it was “easy to make [the] site available on v6.” Facebook said it deployed dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 support on its routers, and that it made no changes to its hosts in order to support IPv6. Facebook also said it was supporting an emerging encapsulation mechanism known as Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP), which separates Internet addresses from endpoint identifiers to improve the scalability of IPv6 deployments. “Facebook was the first major Web site on LISP (v4 and v6),” Facebook engineers said during their presentation. Facebook said that using LISP allowed them to deploy IPv6 services quickly with no extra cost. Facebook’s IPv6 services are available at www.v6.facebook.com, m.v6.facebook.com, www.lisp6.facebook.com and m.lisp6.facebook.com.[Courtsey: Wikipedia]

The following graph shows the relative IPv6/IPv4 RTT for Facebook, a value larger than 1.0 representing IPv6 is faster while values lower than 1.0 indicates that IPv6 is slower than IPv4:
[Image courtsey: www.infoQ.com]

DOES THE ADOPTION OF IPv6 POSE ANY ADDITIONAL RISK FROM SPAMMERS?

“We also do not see any additional risks from spammers as a result of the IPv6 launch, given that they have supported it on their IPv6 subdomain since early 2009, so not much will be changing” added Jason Freidenfelds of Google.

“IPv6 contains no more or less risk from spammers than IPv4,” Kevin Boske of Bing said. “That said, the growth of any new technology presents a challenge to the security community as they adapt the new space and possible attack vectors. However, much of the maturation that has occurred in the areas of spam and bot prevention is highly adaptable to IPv6. There isn’t anything endemically risky about IPv6, just a continued need for vigilance from both the private and public sector to keep the information highways safe as we transition.”

Yahoo’s Fesler also sees no additional risk from spammers due to IPv6 adoption as it is “always a cat and mouse game, and the rules are always changing.”

In the Chinese Search Engine BAIDU, no additional risks from spammers are currently being seen. But, it has built a separate load balancer, called ZBAY, specifically to deal with IPv6 traffic.

If you are a content owner or a webmaster, keep the following pointers in mind.

Firstly, since many leading ISPs and Internet companies are adopting IPv6, it will be advisable to support connections over IPv6. If you don’t do this, you might lose out on traffic without even knowing it as it won’t make it to your web server logs.

Secondly, be sure to use IPv6 Proxy to test whether your site supports IPv6 connections while configuring your DNS.

Thirdly, make sure that your content is virtually identical to your IPv4 content (no cloaking, for obvious SEO reasons).

CONCLUSION

Adoption of IPv6 overall is likely to increase dramatically over the next 2-3 years. In a next few years, the impact of IPv6 on webmasters and content owners will be clearer. This transition will provide for future Internet growth and enhancement. This revolutionary platform will also see a seamless yet simultaneous translation between the two protocols.

Do let us know how you feel about this “future transition”. Until then have a productive week ahead.