Attendees at last week’s Cisco Live! event in Barcelona had the very special opportunity to experience a ground-breaking moment for IPv6 deployment. Cisco streamed a sneak preview of YouTube videos, for the very first time, over the event’s IPv6 network for all the attendees to view!
As with all “firsts” there is an interesting story behind the scenes, and this case is no different.
The story started in 2007 at an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meeting when Mark Townsley, a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco and IETF Internet Area Director, publicly challenged Google to deliver content over IPv6 at an IETF meeting within a year. “IPv6 Samurai” Erik Kline of Google approached Mark after the meeting and accepted his challenge. Mark also got to work, developing innovations to help Cisco customers deploy IPv6 on their networks so that the upcoming wave of content could be reached.
Google met Mark’s challenge in 2008, but IPv6 access to YouTube was not yet available – until last week. At Cisco Live! Europe, IPv6 history was made as the first YouTube video was streamed on a public IPv6 network. You may ask, “What was that very first video?” At Erik’s request, we ran a tutorial on IPv6 in honor of the late, renowned IPv6 pioneer Dr. Jun-ichiro “itojun” Hagino. Applause erupted from the audience and it was, indeed, a moving moment. After, we streamed a video of Erik saying hello to Cisco Live! over IPv6 from the Google offices in Tokyo.
Just hours after this exciting preview, Google launched YouTube over IPv6 globally which resulted in a huge surge in IPv6 traffic worldwide. This accomplishment by Google reflects the fact that IPv6 has left the engineering labs and is heading for worldwide production.
Embracing the inevitable shift from IPv4 to IPv6 on all networks will enable a vibrant future for the Internet – we will have limitless connectivity to each other regardless of “how, when or where” thanks to the abundance of IPv6 addresses. Google is one of many companies, from service providers to network vendors, that are playing a role in the important transition to IPv6.