By Andree Toonk | March 12, 2008
The 71st Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting is now underway in Philadelphia, in what some are describing as a weeklong ‘IPv6 experience.‘ This week, the IETF is encouraging all attendees to explore and experiment with the Internet from an IPv6-only perspective. The IETF is the premiere Internet standards development body, responsible for creating the technologies at the heart of the Internet’s infrastructure, including the standards for email, chat, Internet telephony, and of course the Internet address protocols IPv4 and IPv6. As it has done for many years, the IETF is providing both IPv4 and IPv6 network connectivity at the meeting. During the last IETF meeting I was personally involved for BCNET in this by giving the IETF70 IPv4 and IPv6 transit using the BCNET network.
This week, the IETF is encouraging all attendees to explore and experiment with the Internet from an IPv6-only perspective. Throughout the week, meeting attendees can choose to try an IPv6-only wireless network and during the administrative plenary session, everyone will dive into IPv6 together as the regular IPv4 access will be turned off in the plenary meeting room, and attendees will only have IPv6 addresses to connect to the outside world. During this period, everyone will be encouraged to explore the Internet, including their own sites, to see what works and what doesn’t. The IETF is promoting this activity at a time when IPv6 deployment is becoming a matter of global importance.
For a few years already I’ve been using IPv6 at work as well as for personal use. My former employers, AMS-IX, SARA and currently BCNET all have an IPv6 enabled network which I use on a daily basis in my office. Also, services such as web, mail and dns on my personal server (http://www.toonk.nl/), including the Blog that you’re reading right now is reachable over IPv6. It is my personal experience that a lot of IPv6 services on the Internet are still in an experimental state and sometimes it just doesn’t work, which can be frustrating at times. Fortunately the last few weeks things are changing! some of the big players are joining this IPv6 parade! As of today Google has made it’s search service available over IPv6, try it out at http://ipv6.google.com (Ipv6 only) and last month the root DNS zone was updated with IPv6 addresses for six of the 13 root servers. This change means that it’s now possible for an IPv6-only system to connect to another IPv6-only system without the need to do DNS lookups over IPv4. It would really be cool if Google decides to make the youtube videos available over IPv6.
Hopefully the deployment of IPv6 will continue like this! And I can start right here in Canada! from my office the RTT to ipv6.google.com is around 350ms! From my server in the Netherlands it’s just 23ms. Unfortunately it seems impossible to find an commercial IPv6 transit provider here in Vancouver.