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Major tech companies set for switch to IPv6

"This time it is for real", reads the Internet Society's World IPv6 Launch website.

On Wednesday, 6 June (switch to 6 on 6/6) a number of top Internet firms - including Microsoft, Google, YouTube and Yahoo - will deploy a new Internet protocol, dubbed IPv6. On IPv6 Day last year, a number of these companies switched from IPv4 to IPv6 for 24 hours, but now it's the real deal, though they will continue to run IPv4, as well.

Updating from the current version of the Internet Protocol - IPv4 - the new platform will open a world of IP addresses, since the last block of the 4.3 billion possible IPv4 addresses were doled out early last year. The entire IPv4 address space is 32 bits long, but the IPv6 address space is 128 bits, opening up a world of Internet possibilities.

"Without new addresses, the Internet as we know it - a platform for realizing innovation and building new services and applications - cannot grow to connect more people and devices", Internet Society Chief Internet Technology Officer Leslie Daigle wrote in a guest post on Forbes. "The last time this happened was in the early 1980's, when the Internet was still a research network".

According to Daigle, there is no longer any IPv4 space in the Asia Pacific region, and Europe, the US, Latin America and Africa are all expected to lose out on IPv4 addresses by 2014.

According to a recent survey that Daigle referenced, 6 per cent of businesses indicated that they were not aware of the IPv6 switchover.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the long-term overall cost of not deploying IPv6 is more costly to both individual companies looking to grow and to the global Internet as a whole", Daigle wrote.

While billions upon billions of more Web addresses will be made available this week, the Internet could slow down or even become inaccessible to some. But the net won't collapse. Those worried about total Internet destruction on Wednesday can run their PC through OMG! World IPv6 Day or the Test Your IPv6 Connectivity site to find out whether a browser is IPv6 capable.

Only about 1 per cent of users will be using IPv6, according to ZDNet, which reported that the Internet Society knows most people aren't ready for the change. Over time, as users upgrade, IPv6 adoption will increase, the Society told ZDNet.