Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of World IPv6 Launch Day. This was a day when many major websites & service providers enabled IPv6 support permanently.
For those folks not familiar with IPv6, it’s the next generation Internet addressing scheme set to replace our current IPv4. With the incredible growth of internet connected devices like smartphones, tablets, etc., we’re quickly running out of available IPv4 addresses. IPv6 will solve this problem, as well as offer many new security features.
Unfortunately, since they are not compatible, we have to transition from IPv4 to IPv6. There are many ways to transition, but a popular method involves assigning both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses until most of the internet supports IPv6. This transition has been slow going, but with the impending IPv4 address crunch many anticipate that it will accelerate. Most operating systems, devices, and ISPs are IPv6-ready, but user adoption has been slow.
While many of the Internet’s top website destinations support IPv6, we’ve noticed that very few would work in a pure-IPv6 environment because they don’t have IPv6 enabled NameServers. Take a look at IPv6 NameServer support by these top 20 websites (according to Alexa):
I’m surprised that many of the top IPv6 enabled websites have (so far) neglected IPv6 for their NameServers. Those IPv6 enabled websites will work correctly while we’re in the transition period, but they aren’t ready for a pure IPv6 environment.
I looked for IPv6 NameServer entries (called “glue” records) in gTLD zones, and found that very few NameServers were configured with IPv6.
You may wonder what regular internet users can do to support the transition to IPv6. One way is to ask your home ISP for IPv6 on your Cable & DSL accounts. My home ISP has IPv6 available and I’ve found it works seamlessly. Traffic to IPv6-enabled websites uses IPv6, and traffic to IPv4-only websites uses IPv4. My laptop, tablet and smartphone all support IPv6 without any special configuration. I did, however, have to upgrade my broadband modem to one that could support both IPv4 and IPv6.
DomainTools.com is planning to add IPv6 support to both our website and research tools in the coming months.