IPv6 Day: One Day to Go
After many years in the wings, IPv6′s biggest test is about to hit us tomorrow, from 0:00 to 23:59 UTC on Wednesday June 8th. Many UK universities or organisations will be taking part in some way.
How might this affect you? It’s worth checking out the latest blog by Rob Evans for a view from the JANET ops perspective, which discusses the potential impact for JANET-connected sites.
If you have some IPv6 clients enabled in your site, then on the 8th these will start using IPv6 to access many services that are normally IPv4 only, including Facebook, Google, YouTube, CNN, the BBC (we believe) and other content. So your IPv6 infrastructure which might normally see 1-2% of external traffic being IPv6 will perhaps see 15%-20%. It’s a very useful one-day glimpse into the IPv6 future. As such, you should try to gather as much information on performance and behaviour as you can, be that raw traffic counts or detailed flow data.
If you have enabled some public-facing servers, typically your main web site (or the load balancers in front of it), an increased number of visitors will be hitting you over IPv6. This gives you an opportunity to validate your deployment method, and to measure IPv6 ‘brokenness’, i.e. how many and which clients have problems reaching you. While this figure is a fraction of 1% by most recent reports, tools like APNIC’s IPv6 Capability Tracker can help with that, using Google Analytics, which has some excellent visualisation tools.
But what if you have no IPv6 at your site? Well, it’s still possible some of your systems will have connectivity issues, if you either have ‘rogue’ IPv6 Router Advertisements (e.g. from Windows ICS being turned on unintentionally) or systems try to use automatic IPv6 tunnelling methods. So you should be aware of these, and check resources like ARIN’s IPv6 wiki to determine which types of problems could occur and what to do.
In general, upgrading your browser or OS is a prudent step, particularly for MacOS X 10.6, where the latest versions are more resilient to rogue RAs. The new Google Chrome is also a good ‘workaround’, since it tries both IPv4 and IPv6, and falls back to IPv4 very quickly (300ms) if it experiences IPv6 connectivity problems. Microsoft have also published an updated KB entry that you or your users can apply to just have them prefer IPv4 until June 10th (when the patch expires).
There are quite a few sites offering IPv6 stats around World IPv6 Day. These include the RIPE NCC v6day data, some Google statistics and stats from the AMS IX. There’s other stats sites linked to the right.
We understand that some BBC content will be made dual-stack for the day; an IPv6-only preview exists here. There’s a Facebook announcement, while Blizzard are also enabling IPv6 access for certain realms. CNN have announced their readiness this week, while MS have already made xbox.com dual-stack.
Tomorrow is going to be a very interesting day. Do join the ipv6-users JISCmail list if you want to discuss what happens on that list.