Today marks the official launch of IPv6, the new Internet Protocol that's permanently being deployed by ISPs in more than 100 countries, home router equipment manufacturers and leading websites like Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo.
Parties committed to the new protocol will now make IPv6 the "new normal" from here on out, expanding the Internet from its current four billion IP addresses to over 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses. That said, the End of the Internet is no longer in view.
"The support of IPv6 from these thousands of organizations delivers a critical message to the world: IPv6 is not just a 'nice to have'; it is ready for business today and will very soon be a 'must have,'" said Leslie Daigle, Chief Internet Technology Officer, Internet Society. "We believe that the commitment of these companies to deploy IPv6 will ensure that they remain industry leaders. Any company wishing to be effective in the new Internet should do the same."
Starting June 6 at 0000 UTC, major websites are permanently enabling IPv6 on their main sites. ISPs will permanently enable IPv6 across a significant portion of their current and all new residential wireline subscribers. Home networking equipment manufacturers will enable IPv6 by default through their range of home router products.
The launch arrives after the last blocks of the IPv4 addresses were assigned to the Regional Internet Registries in February 2011. That means there is no remaining IPv4 address space to be distributed in the Asia Pacific region. Even more, IPv4 address space is expected to run out in Europe this year, in the U.S. next year, and in Latin America and Africa in 2014.
"Many parts of the world are increasing broadband penetration, more smart phones and network-ready devices are entering the market, and the sheer number of Internet users is steadily increasing – all of which raises IP address consumption," the Internet Society said on Wednesday. "With IPv4 becoming scarce, the need for IPv6 deployment grows daily."
By enabling IPv6, the Internet can now sustain billions of people that are not connected today. It will allow a wide range of devices to connect directly with one another, and it will help ensure the Internet can continue its current growth rate indefinitely.
"IPv6 is key to preserving the health and openness of the Internet for decades to come," said Stephen Stuart, Distinguished Engineer at Google. "We're proud to be one of the founding participants in World IPv6 Launch, and we look forward to the day when IPv6 is available to Internet users everywhere."
"As more and more people and devices connect to the web, supporting IPv6 has become crucial to the future scalability of the Internet," said Jay Parikh, Vice President of Infrastructure at Facebook. "It's awesome to see so many people and companies working together across the world to make progress on this transition."
World IPv6 Launch is organized by the Internet Society as "part of its mission to ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible for everyone -- including the other five billion people not yet connected to the Internet."