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Facebook raring to give IPv6 a test flight

Sharon Gaudin | June 7, 2011
Network engineers worked for months to get ready for World IPv6 Day.

Lee, who previously worked at Google and Cisco Systems, said a handful of Facebook engineers have been working on updating the company's network so they can run a dual stack, which means running both IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time.

The site will check a user's system and if it supports IPv6, it will use IPv6 for the first time. Most people don't have IPv6 and will fall back to IPV4.

Lee figures that 0.2% of Facebook's more than 500 million users are capable of using IPv6 at home or at work. That's 1 million users.

He also contends that 99.97% of users will see no difference whatsoever. The other 0.03% can probably expect some slowdowns because of bugs either in their own systems or on the larger networks.

For Facebook, getting ready for Wednesday's test has been in the works for months.

Lee said most of their efforts were focused on the company's software, specifically, making code changes. "Most of our costs were having software engineers go through our code," he added. "Where it expected a legacy address to now expect and support an IPv6 address."

He said he didn't know how much the migration cost Facebook.

The Internet is our business," Lee added. "As far as we can tell, the future of the Internet is important not just to us but to all Internet companies. There aren't really good solutions when you run out of addresses. I believe that IPv6 is the answer to the future of the Internet."

 

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