Wednesday marks World IPv6 Launch Day, when many major websites such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft turn on IPv6 on their homepages. On 6th June 2011, we saw a 24-hour trial of IPv6 on the main website addresses of these sites to test for any problems, but this year IPv6 will stay enabled for good.
IPv6 is an Internet Protocol which succeeds IPv4 which currently powers much of the Internet. These protocols are critical as they relate to addressing devices connected to the Internet. We are fast running out of IPv4 addresses, so to get new users and devices online, more addresses are required, and IPv6 deals with this problem.
Of course, many of the more technical users may already be using IPv6 and many websites (thinkbroadband included) have been operating IPv6 on the main website for quite some time. However this event marks a mainstream change as some of the largest websites on the Internet turn on IPv6 for good.
Users shouldn't need to be concerned about whether they are connecting to a website over IPv4 or IPv6 and many will go through this transition without even realising it. Many broadband routers will require upgrading or software updates to support IPv6 so it may be some time until the entire Internet is IPv6 enabled, but users will continue to be able to access websites and most other content on the Internet via IPv4 for many years to come.