In 2011 we have already seen some important Internet anniversaries and milestones. We have celebrated 25 years of IETF meetings and 40 years of the FTP protocol, but the most significant milestone took place in February when IANA handed out its final blocks of IPv4 addresses to the RIRs (see page 21). It seems like a good time to publish an edition of IPJ devoted entirely to IPv4/IPv6 transition, and to help me with this task I have invited Geoff Huston as co-editor and author for this issue, so let me hand it over to him:
There is a Chinese proverb that states: 寧為太平犬，不做亂世人 "It's better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period." For the Internet, this year is shaping up to be a time that looks more like developing chaos than serenity and peace. The IANA has given out the last /8's, and demand has already depleted the IPv4 address stocks in the Asia Pacific. Meanwhile, the industry has discovered the mass marketing potential of mobile devices, and expects to sell and connect more than 250 million of them in 2011 alone.
The IETF designed IPv6 in the 1990s for this very reason. Its 128- bit address field is easily capable of accommodating the output of a prolific silicon manufacturing industry for many decades to come. But when we look at today's Internet, very little IPv6 can be seen. Estimates of the number of clients with functional IPv6 services hover at around 0.2 to 0.4 percent of the total.
The story about IPv6 transition technologies is complex, and there are many ways to undertake this effort. In this issue we will examine the various approaches and their relative strengths and weaknesses.
In order to send out a broad message about the need to shift online content from exclusively using IPv4 into a dual-stack world of both IPv4 and IPv6, ISOC is supporting World IPv6 Day on June 8. Phil Roberts explains this initiative and its role in helping the overall transition effort.
This transition is going to be difficult. It involves all parts of this diverse industry, and means combining some well-understood and widely-deployed technologies in some surprising and challenging ways. There is much to do, and we hope that this issue of IPJ provides an insight into just what the transition to IPv6 will entail.
—Geoff Huston, firstname.lastname@example.org
—Ole J. Jacobsen, email@example.com