The Internet Society has announced that June 6, 2012 will be “World IPv6 Launch Day.” So what does this mean to you? Initially, probably not much. But eventually, Ipv6 (Internet Protocol, Version 6) will be how everything communicates on the Internet.
Currently, the Internet uses IPv4 (version 4) and, as you may have heard, has just about run out of addresses (but there’s no need to panic – nothing is shutting down because of it). IPv6 has much longer addresses, allowing for an address scheme that should take us many years into the future.
But we’re back to what this means to you. You’ll want to make sure your equipment is IPv6 compatible. No, you don’t need to run out and do that right away. But sometime in the next few of years you might. So what do you need to check?
First off – your computer. Unless you are running a very old operating system (pre 10.4) for OS X), your computer should be covered. Same thing with any AIrport gear – if it’s not many years old, it’s probably OK. But, you may need to turn on IPv6 support. For example, IPv6 is listed under the Advanced tab when manually setting up an Airport device.
It may well be set to “link local only”. If you are using your Airport as your router to your ISP, it should be set to “router”. Right now, Comcast in my area isn’t handing out IPv6 addresses, but they are in California. And they are one of the ISPs committed to having at least 1% of their customers on IPv6 on the June 6 launch day. Comcast has a test page where you can see how ready your system is.
If you’re not using an Airport, check your router’s documentation. Most routers in the last few years have IPv6 support, but it may be off by default, and you may need to turn it on.
Next is your cable or DSL modem. If you’ve had it over 5 years, it may not be IPv6 compatible. You may need to check with the manufacturer’s site to see if you need to upgrade your modem.
Don’t forget your Tivo, Internet-connected TV, XBox 360, Wii, etc. All these devices at some point will need to support IPv6. Of course, by the time these things must support IPv6, chances are you’ll have bought a new one that does. But it’s something to keep in mind as you are looking at new devices and appliances.