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Experts: Deploy IPv6 If You Haven't, and Prepare for the New Normal

In the wake of last week's World IPv6 Launch, Google's chief Internet evangelist says it's time to deploy IPv6--laggards will start catching up due to embarrassment.

Face it. It's time to deploy IPv6.

"No more excuses," said Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist. "You have to be able to run IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time."

Cerf was one of many high-ranking executives from leading technology companies including Google, Cisco, Yahoo and Akamai who participated in a live online event hosted by the Internet Society (ISOC) after last week's World IPv6 Launch day.

So far, so good.

"We're comfortable saying IPv6 is the new normal," says Leslie Daigle, chief technology officer at ISOC. "Individuals need to investigate their own IPv6 status, and for organizations, it's time to accelerate IPv6 plans."

Mark Townsley, a fellow at Cisco Systems, said the company is approaching IPv6 both as an equipment and content provider. Its Linksys E-series home networking routers have IPv6 enabled by default. "We don't want the consumer to have to manually turn on IPv6."

Townsley notes that Cisco is one the 100 oldest websites. Cisco.com plays a significant role in providing information for Cisco customers as well as generating sales for the networking company, so it's important that the site be IPv6-compatible.

Erik Kline, a Google engineer, said IPv6 traffic has been growing rapidly for Google, with a 150% increase in the past year. "At this rate, approximately 50% of users will have IPv6 in six years," he said.

Google keeps a running list of networks and service providers from around the world that are not yet IPv6-compatible, and applications such as Google Calendar notify users if they are not IPv6 ready. "Most Google services were supporting IPv6 already," he says.

Service provider Comcast has one-third of its network on IPv6, and the transition is ongoing, said John Brzozowski, a distinguished engineer and chief architect for IPv6. Comcast saw a 3.75% increase in IPv6 traffic compared with World IPv6 Day in 2011. "The bulk of the growth has appeared in calendar 2012."

He says the decision to deploy IPv6 hasn't led to any hiccups, with overall call center volumes in line with the same volume as this time last year. "We've had no major issues to report."

Social networking giant Facebook, which also participated in the World IPv6 Launch, now has more than 27 million users on IPv6, according to Donn Lee, network engineer at Facebook. That's three to five times more than what the company had on World IPv6 Day in 2011.

Cerf noted that while it has taken 20 years to launch IPv6, he expects faster growth now, in part due to laggards catching up out of embarrassment. "You have to be able to run IPv6 all the time and anytime, because this won't get turned off," he says.

Alain Fiocco, senior director and head of the IPv6 High Impact Project at Cisco, said many content providers will likely deploy IPv6 with little fanfare. "People will do it as part of their normal course of business," he explains.

More than 60 access providers and more than 3,000 websites publicly participated in the World IPv6 Launch event and have committed to keeping IPv6 running as part of normal business operations.

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