Get Ready for World IPv6 Day


On June 8, 2011, content providers, universities, ISPs, and other network organizations will be engaging in activities related to World IPv6 Day. This massive exercise is akin to a “test drive” where content is shared, and networks are configured to support Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) which is already supplanting the current Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). The point of this dry run is to raise awareness of IPv6, provide feedback on what works and what gets broken, to allow for an overall smoother transition to the new IPv6 protocol as IPv4 addresses are running out. We don’t anticipate that everything–or even a majority of things–will work perfectly, but we do hope that we can learn from any problems that arise.

As a network pioneer, ESnet has made most of its public content available over IPv6 for several years. However, ESnet will still be taking a number of actions to further engage the community on World IPv6 Day.

Additional IPv6 content: ESnet will be enabling IPv6 on some of its secondary websites, such as fasterdata.es.net.  The goal, of course, is for all of ESnet’s public-facing websites to have full dual-stack (IPv4/IPv6) capability, and we will take additional steps toward that goal on June 8.

IPv6 on perfSONAR: ESnet’s perfSONAR infrastructure has been configured to support IPv6 at ESnet’s major points-of-presence across the network.  ESnet will begin doing regular performance tests over IPv6 on World IPv6 Day.  We hope to be able to investigate and fix any performance issues (or work with vendors to address these issues) as part of the lessons learned from this exercise.

ESnet also makes certain perfSONAR configuration files are made available as a service to the perfSONAR community.  This includes configuration files that provide information about research and education networks to the bwctl bandwith-testing service.  We will begin distributing IPv6-aware versions of these configuration files in time for World IPv6 Day.

Additional IPv6 monitoring and data collection: ESnet has operated dual-stack open-source software mirrors (e.g. linux.mirrors.es.net and freebsd.mirrors.es.net) for some time.  We have created a mechanism for collecting additional flow data to measure IPv6 traffic to and from the mirrors before, during, and after World IPv6 Day.  ESnet plans to continue these instrumentation efforts and–as appropriate–make data on IPv6 usage available to the community.

ECS Videoconferencing: To the extent it can be supported by vendor-supplied equipment, ECS will be adopting IPv6 transport in time for World IPv6 Day.  ESnet’s ECS gatekeepers are able to be configured for IPv6 and will have IPv6 capability by World IPv6 Day.  Unfortunately, the multi-point control units (MCUs) that are part of ECS cannot currently be configured to support IPv6.  ESnet will work with vendors to achieve a fully dual-stack conferencing system in the future.

ESnet staff will be closely monitoring the ESnet network and its peering points to ensure that both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic is flowing optimally during World IPv6 Day.  We will make every attempt to address issues as they come up. We also look forward, although with the rest of the Internet community, to what we hope will be a valuable learning experience.

–Michael Sinatra