The IPv4 sky isn’t falling, says Internode


That hotspot of broadband goodness Internode has criticised what is says are “Chicken Little” views of an Internet “IPocalypse” due to the number of available IPv4 addresses running out — and the global online community taking too damn long to shift to IPv6. In a statement today associated with World IPv6 Day on Wednesday (see below), the company today said the transition period from IPv4 to IPv6 would last many years — with Internet users being assigned both types of addresses in a dual-stack arrangement. Earlier this year, Internode revealed it will progressively move its existing national IPv6 trial to a full production service in 2011 in order to face the depletion of the 32-bit IPv4 address space, predicted for the next few months. Other ISPs like iiNet are also following similar paths.

Sounds like the sky isn’t falling after all ;)

[showhide type=”pressrelease”]

Internode rejects ‘IPocalypse’ on World IPv6 Day

National broadband company Internode has used World IPv6 Day to dismiss “Chicken Little” views of an Internet “IPocalypse” due to the imminent exhaustion of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses.

2011 is the year that global allocations of the four billion, 32-bit IPv4 addresses are starting to run out. Although its replacement, IPv6, is a mature protocol, IPv6 deployment has been limited to date. While there are as many IPv6 addresses as grains of sand in the world, the new protocol is not compatible with IPv4, so, during the protocol transition period – expected to last many years – new Internet users will be assigned both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses in a ‘dual stack’ arrangement.

On World IPv6 Day, June 8, 2011, major web companies globally and other industry players will enable IPv6 on their main websites for 24 hours. The goal is to motivate organisations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.

Internode leads Australia is its testing and adoption of IPv6. The company, which has worked on IPv6 adoption for a number of years, launched a public trial for its ADSL-based customers in November 2009.

Internode managing director Simon Hackett said World IPv6 Day was a chance to raise the profile of IPv6 in the service provider community. “Done right, consumers don’t notice IPv6,” he said. “Internode has made sure our customers won’t be disadvantaged through this large, significant change ‘under the hood’ of the Internet, and we welcome a chance to show our customers how seamless IPv6 is with Internode even now, ahead of our official move to full production deployment later this year.

“Internode welcomes World IPv6 Day as an opportunity to demonstrate what it has achieved with IPv6 and to encourage our peers in the Internet industry to explore and pursue IPv6 engagement as well.”


Image credits: United States Geological Survey, public domain, Qld Auditor-General’s Office


  1. On World IPv6 Day, June 8, 2011, major web companies globally and other industry players will enable IPv6 on their main websites for 24 hours.

    Enabling IPv6, good. For 24 hours? Ha? I get that some companies may be concerned about security with a new protocol and robustness to ensure it continues operating, but why don’t they just do it properly the first time and be done with it.

    Honestly it’s not that hard. If you’re going to spend months preparing for what is little more than a hey look, we can do IPv6 exhabition, spend a little extra time making it permanent. Hey, take an extra 6 months, or even a year, but don’t waste our time with pointless gimmicks.

    Come 5 years from now when customer can no longer be issued an IPv4 address and you start losing market share over something, quite frankly trival on the small scale of your data center, it’s your own fault.

    We all deal with our little trival corners, homes, data centers, backhaul, and suddenly the non-trivial problem of migrating everyone isn’t so hard is it?

  2. I get where you’re coming from NighKhaos, but isn’t the point of the 24 hours test to look for problems on a global scale that may not be readily apparent before going permanent? And also:

    “The goal is to motivate organisations across the industry – Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors and web companies – to prepare their services for IPv6 to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.”

    Maybe the industry is just being lazy and this is their way of saying hurry up and get with the times?

    Mind you I have no idea what’s actually involved, so I’m really just playing Devil’s advocate. You’re probably right ;)

    • The point I’m making is don’t see yourself up to have it turned off 24 hours after you turn it on.

      By all means, if you find problems, turn it off, and come back to it when you have fixed said problem, but the idea of only doing it for a day seems like a waste of time to me.

      For one I don’t think 24 hours is a long enough trial, for another if you do it on the assumption you’re going to leave it only permanently you’re less likely to take shortcuts which leave you exposed.
      My biggest fear with something like this will be some lazy vert sysadmin leaving a database exposed, some smart kid taking advantage of this, and then IPv6 being labelled as insecure because said sysadmin didn’t do his job properly.

      With technologies like NAT being used for security in Industry, something NAT was never designed for nor should be used for, this is far closer to reality than I would be comfortable with.

      • All very good points. I really don’t have anything to counter your argument NighKhaos. Its not something I know much about, but everything you said makes sense.

  3. I work for a company which has a fairly large web presence. We’ll be participating in World IPv6 and I can tell you that it’s really not about “testing” IPv6. We already know things are going to break for a not-insignificant number of people, so if that was all the point of the “test” was, then there’s really no need to have World IPv6 Day at all.

    For a long time now, “experts” have been telling us that IPv4 addresses are going to run out, we’re going to need to switch to IPv6 some day, yada yada yada. It’s largely been ignored (ask most ISPs in Australia what their plans for IPv6 are and — with the notable exception of Internode and maybe iiNet — you’ll likely get a resounding “what plans?”). So the point of IPv6 is mostly awareness — making sure people are aware of IPv6 and are aware of what’s going to happen when it gets here (that is, for most people, absolutely nothing).

    One way to test IPv6 without actually having to turn it on completely is you have a little bit of javascript on your page that fetches an image from three different servers. One server has an IPv4 address only, one has an IPv6 address only and one has both and IPv4 and an IPv6 address. In our tests, what we discovered is that about 0.6% of visitors who were able to download the image from the IPv4-only server could not download the image from the IPv4/IPv6 dual address server. That means, for those 0.6% of people, Google, Facebook and all the other websites participating are going to become unreachable. This post on the Google blog quotes 0.5% of users who will “be affected”.

    You might think 0.5% of people are not worth worrying about. But when you’re getting the traffic that Google gets, that translates to millions of people, and that’s just unacceptably high.

    So even before we start, we know that World IPv6 is going to cause problems for a large enough number of people that we’re going to have to switch it back off again. But the fact that it’ll break for a single day should hopefully be enough of a wake up call that those people with incorrectly configured DNS servers, out of date software or whatever, will update their software and one day we’ll be able to switch IPv6 back on for good.

    • Not to reduce your point, but you do realise that Google is already running dual-stack for their servers and have been for quite some time?

      • As I said, you can be pretty sure Google (and Facebook, etc) already know what’s going to happen on IPv6 day. They’ve already run tests similar to the one I described above and they know what’ll happen. It’s the 0.5-0.6% of people with broken TCP/IP stacks that are going to get a bit of a shock on IPv6 day…

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