You may not have heard of it, you may not care about it, but IPv6 could cause you some troubles tomorrow (Wed 8th June).
On that day, the Internet Society have arranged a “World IPv6 Day”. A large number of services, such as Facebook and Google, are going to enable dual-stack IPv4/6 for a 24 hour period, to see what happens. Hopefully most people will not even notice the difference, but if you suddenly find that you’re having problems connecting to certain websites, that may be the reason.
Computers on the internet each have a unique address, similar to a phone number. That is called an IP Address, and currently we’re all using version 4 of the protocol – hence IPv4. Unfortunately there aren’t enough possible addresses – the world has pretty-much run out of them, and so a new version, IPv6, has been created, to try to fix the problem. Unfortunately, moving to IPv6 is a quite a technical thing to do, and is expensive for ISPs etc (the people who provide your internet connection), and so movement from IPv4 to IPv6 has be really slow. One big question is, what will happen when we do move? What will break?
The purpose of the World IPv6 Day (http://www.worldipv6day.org/) is to basically do a large-scale test on the internet, and see what happens.
So what can you, as a user, do? Well, better safe than sorry, so I’d suggest you browse to http://test-ipv6.com/ and give your computer a test. This will let you know whether you’ll likely experience any problems tomorrow. Most people still won’t be using IPv6 tomorrow, so don’t worry if the test says it’s not supported. The important thing is that your computer not think it can use it, when actually it can’t. It’s a long story I won’t bore people with.
As an aside, you can also check out your IPv6 connectivity by going to several IPv6-only websites. Again, most people won’t be able to access these, but it may be worth a go…