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IPv6 to Finally Go Mainstream in June 2012

Looks like we may not reach the end of the internet after all, as June 6 will mark the day our favorite virtual frontier, the World Wide Web, officially goes into IPv6 mode. Major internet service providers, home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies have all agreed to permanently enable the new protocol on their products and services by that date.

"Organized by the Internet Society, and building on the successful one-day World IPv6 Day event held on 8 June 2011, World IPv6 Launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6," the Internet Society stated on Tuesday. "As the successor to the current Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the Internet’s continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development."

For the uninitiated, IPv4 only supports approximately four billion IP addresses. But due to the "explosion" of people, devices, and web services now accessing the global network, that large number is nearly depleted. To resolve this, a next-generation protocol -- IPv6 -- is slowly being introduced which will provide more than "340 trillion, trillion, trillion" addresses. That should be enough to sustain the Internet's growth "indefinitely."

ISPs participating in World IPv6 Launch on June 6 will enable IPv6 for enough users so that at least 1-percent of their wireline residential subscribers who visit participating websites will do so using IPv6 by 6 June 2012. ISPs committed to the change-over include AT&T, Comcast, Free Telecom, Internode, KDDI, Time Warner Cable and XS4ALL. Participating home networking equipment manufacturers include Cisco and D-Link. Websites will include Facebook, Google, Bing and Yahoo!

"The fact that leading companies across several industries are making significant commitments to participate in World IPv6 Launch is yet another indication that IPv6 is no longer a lab experiment; it's here and is an important next step in the Internet’s evolution," commented Leslie Daigle, the Internet Society’s Chief Internet Technology Officer. "And, as there are more IPv6 services, it becomes increasingly important for companies to accelerate their own deployment plans."

To learn more about World IPv6 Launch Day, head here.