On this day one year ago I was sitting in a hotel room in London, hanging out online with Vint Cerf and engineers from Google and Comcast, discussing how tech leaders around the world had come together in unprecedented fashion to declare it time to turn on IPv6, together, all over the world. It was an ambitious plan. Only one year earlier the world had tested IPv6 on a global scale for the very first time. Now, the IP Industry was boldly declaring victory. No more tests, no more trials. IPv6 had left the laboratory — for good. It was now, or never.
Months before, at the towering headquarters of Comcast in a room high above downtown Philadelphia, the Internet Society organized one of the planning sessions for the World IPv6 Launch. With a sparkling backdrop of the earth’s horizon in the distance, representatives from the founding World IPv6 Launch participants (Akamai, AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, D-Link, Facebook, Free Telecom, Google, Internode, KDDI, Limelight, Bing, Time Warner Cable, XS4ALL and Yahoo!) discussed what it meant to “Launch” IPv6. There was a white board, with a hand drawn chart as our goal. We talked, argued, compromised, and ultimately came to consensus on how we could “move the needle”, and whether it was too bold a proposition to even try. We settled on 1% as an individual ISP goal, knowing that this value as measured from a content provider would correspond to more than a simple trial. Many ISPs reached, and exceeded, that by June 2012. A few months later, the world reached that goal.
I’m thrilled to see that, even a year later, end-to-end IPv6 adoption shows no measurable sign of stopping. IPv6 deployment has been doubling every 9 months since World IPv6 Day. Large scale DSL, Fiber, Cable, and Wireless deployments have joined Enterprises and Content providers across the world, stitching together a new Internet infrastructure. Fit Google’s global IPv6 deployment data to a logistic curve of technology adoption, and the 50% tipping point where IPv6 takes over IPv4 is only 5 years away.
IPv6 is not only important to the Internet of today, it is critical to the Internet of Everything to come. Working on IPv6 over the past several years has been exciting and rewarding in many ways. I have made a lot of good friends along the way, and am witnessing the birth of a New Internet Protocol first hand.
Across the globe, organizations have come together today at the World IPv6 Launch to mark a milestone in unique fashion: Turning on and permanently enabling IPv6 networks for their products and services.
According to the recent CiscoVisual Networking Index (VNI), there will be nearly two-and-a-half networked devices for every person on the planet – roughly 19 billion connected devices by 2016. It’s not only people that are being connected, but also machines. Two billion M2M (machine to machine) connections are expected by 2015. Not surprisingly, global IP traffic has increased eightfold over the past five years and will increase threefold over the next five. To support the proliferation of devices that are transforming businesses and lifestyles, enterprises and service providers are adopting IPv6-enabled networks.
Anyone who has taken the road to IPv6 knows it’s not about flipping a switch. Many things need to be in order beforehand, and it takes expertise and planning to understand the manifold contingencies and then ensure a smooth migration to IPv6 – while also preserving existing IPv4 investments.
In January 2011, Internet companies around the globe announced they would come together to perform the largest test of IPv6 deployment the world had ever seen. Cisco was among the first to proudly announce its official participation in World IPv6 Day, and after several months of preparation and an intense 24 hours in June, it was clear that we had witnessed a watershed moment in the move towards global deployment of IPv6.
So what next after this? As reports came in and logs were analyzed over the days and weeks after, it became increasingly clear that we didn’t need just another global test. Instead, we needed to enable IPv6 once and for all. So, on June 6, 2012, the industry will again unite but not just for single day. This time, we turn it on and leave it on. We’re calling this World IPv6 Launch, and it is now the largest commitment to full-scale production IPv6 deployment the world has ever seen.
For websites, the commitment is similar to last year in that reachability via IPv6 will be advertised within the global Domain Name System (DNS). This time, however, the DNS entry will remain indefinitely rather than disappear after a single day. In addition to websites, the Internet Society has setup requirements for participation by residential Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and makers of home networking equipment. The rationale for expanding to these two specific areas is that while IPv6 has been available in some models of consumer-grade networking equipment and from some ISPs for a number of years, it was very rarely enabled by default and as such very rarely in use despite the majority of internet devices being capable of IPv6.
In order to tackle these remaining barriers to deployment, new Internet subscriptions and consumer-grade home routers will begin to appear with IPv6 enabled by default as the normal course of doing business. Specifically, participating home networking equipment makers are committing to include IPv6 enabled by default through a wide range of their products (both “low end” and “high end” home routers) by June 6. For ISPs, websites will be measuring what percentage of users have IPv6 enabled, with a target of no less than 1% before the World IPv6 Launch deadline. The 1% is a “running start”, such that after June 6 we’ll be on a path of sustained growth in IPv6 deployment going forward.
Cisco is again pleased to announce its full participation and support, both by enabling IPv6 on www.cisco.com indefinitely and by enabling IPv6 by default in our new line of E-series home routers. In addition, we will be working with our customers, Cisco Services and development teams to ensure that as many companies as possible can participate and those that do are successful.
June 6, 2012. This is the year we Launch a new Internet Protocol.