June 6, 2012 will be remembered among those of us who love the Internet as World IPv6 Launch Day. It was a pretty momentous occasion that went unnoticed by most mainstream media (but we covered it). The move was required to allow the Internet to grow even larger than it was under IPv4. While the numbers of those who have switched is still relatively low, it’s going to keep growing.
Now that it’s been a few weeks since the launch of IPv6, the fine people over at World IPv6 Launch have thrown together an infographic that explains the importance of IPv6 and which companies have made the switch so far.
As you all probably know by now, IPv4 was pretty much tapped and has been for the past few years. According to estimates, the Asia Pacific region ran out of IPv4 addresses back in April 2011 and Europe was going to run out in August of this year. Something needed to be done and IPv6 was the answer.
IPv6 is pretty amazing because it greatly expands upon the amount of IP addresses that are available to us compared to IPv4. IPv4 only had 4.3 billion IP addresses where as IPv6 has 340 undecillion (that’s 38 zeroes) IP addresses. To put that into even better perspective, that’s 4.3 billion IP addresses for every star in the known universe.
So who’s using all those IP addresses? During the launch on June 6, over 3,000 Web sites took the charge to make the switch. Some of these companies include AOL, Bing, Facebook, Google, Mozilla, NASA, Netflix and others. On top of all of those companies, 65 network operators including AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and others all made the switch. For consumers, five home router vendors – Cisco, D-Link, NEC Access, Yahama and Zyxel – updated their hardware to be IPv6 compliant.
More and more Web sites and companies will begin deploying IPv6 over the coming months and years. It will soon usurp IPv4 and become the new standard to which we connect to the Internet on. Once we reach that milestone, it will be a day just as important, if not more, than June 6, 2012.