Several Irish Govt departments and Plcs not up to IPv6 standards

8 Jun 2011

Today is World IPv6 day and a test of 15 Irish Government departments’ websites and the websites of 51 companies listed on the Irish Stock Exchange has revealed that not one has achieved the required standards.

That’s according to tests run on INEX-owned site IPv6 Ready – a testing facility for organisations to check whether their websites are IPv6 ready in just a few seconds.

World IPv6 Day will see a number of the major organisations in the internet community offer their content over IPv6 in a combined effort to promote the adoption of IPv6. 

Referred to as a ‘test flight’, organisations participating include Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight Networks. Momentum is growing to encourage all those involved in the internet to accelerate their IPv6 adoption plans.

“IPv6 is focused on making those who own, run or develop websites aware of whether their websites are IPv6 ready,” said Eileen Gallagher of INEX.

“If they are not IPv6 ready, then we encourage all website owners, but especially those in a leadership capacity such as Government departments and large businesses, to put in place a programme for IPv6 adoption as soon as possible.”

IANA, which manages internet address space, awarded the final /8’s (slash 8’s) to each of the five regional internet registries, which includes RIPE, the European organisation, on 3 February 2011. Once this group of addresses has been exhausted no more IPv4 addresses will be freely available.

An opportunity exists for Ireland to lead the way in the take-up of IPv6. Achieving success in this will assist with reinforcing Ireland’s reputation as the internet capital of Europe. 

While IPv6 has been available and in active use for more than 10 years, its take-up has been stunted by the continued, but increasingly limited, availability of IPv4 address space. INEX, with the IPv6 Ready initiative, is encouraging businesses to delay no longer and invest in IPv6 to ensure the future of their internet-related activity.

Why the internet is moving to IPv6

Behind each device, website and email address connected to the internet is a unique number called an IP address. The old address system that is being used, IPv4, has about 4bn addresses. In a world of many billions of people, where everything from computers to cars to games consoles are connected to the internet, we are close to exhausting the supply. Soon there will be no more.

Unlike IPv4, which uses a 32-bit number resulting in about 4.2bn addresses, IPv6 uses a 128-bit number.

This means there are more than 340 undecillion IPv6 numbers available. What’s a undecillion you ask?

Well, 340 undecillions means there are enough IPv6 addresses for every atom on earth with a good supply left over, just in case.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years