June 3, 2011 — Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) will participate in the World IPv6 Day, sponsored by the Internet Society, on June 8 as a field test to ensure a successful transition to the new Internet Protocol as IPv4 addresses run out.
SwRI will join major web companies and other industry players to enable IPv6 on their Web sites for 24 hours.
"IPv6 will be the future of the Internet because of the need for more addresses," said Richard Murphy, staff analyst in SwRI's Information Technology Center (ITC). "SwRI is demonstrating this early adoption to show our commitment to understanding and applying the latest technologies for ourselves and for our clients."
The proliferation of computers – and more recently, smart phones and other mobile devices – has created the need for more addresses than can be handled with IPv4, said Edgardo Perez, assistant director of SwRI's Network Services. "Basically, we're running out of unique IP addresses," he said. "The last block of available IPv4 addresses was given to Regional Internet Registries from the central Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) just recently, so there is a great need to make sure that when we do go to IPv6, it will be a smooth transition. This will be a good test of the new addressing system."
Perez said that in theory the number of unique addresses available through IPv6 is 340.3 undecillion (2128) or 340.3 x 1036, while IPv4, the original Internet Protocol addressing scheme, had some 232(almost 4.3 billion) available addresses.
Multiple workstations at SwRI's San Antonio headquarters will be configured to access the Internet through the IPv6 protocol on that day. "This is really more of a behind-the-scene transformation, and the end user won't notice anything different," Perez said.
Jim Hokanson, executive director of ITC at the Institute, said it is important for SwRI to be ready for the eventual IPv6 conversion because "we don't know when one of our researchers or scientists will have a project that requires IPv6. This will be an opportunity to verify the IPv6 implementation on our network."
SwRI is one of hundreds of organizations, web companies, Internet service providers, operating system manufacturers, and hardware vendors, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Akamai that will be participating in World IPv6 Day.