The largest test yet of the Internet's new IPv6 addressing system is taking place worldwide today. Companies including Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Facebook are switching on IPv6 versions of their websites for a one day trial.
The current Internet addressing system, IPv4 has almost run out of addresses as its designers never anticipated the explosion of the Internet in the way that it's happened. So many websites, Internet connected devices and smartphones have joined the Internet in recent years that the switch to a new addressing system has become critical.
Currently, many Internet systems are using 'ghost' IPv4 addresses to help cope with demand.
World IPv6 day is a technical exercise to see how, and how effectively the technology works. All modern web browsers and operating systems have been ready for IPv6 for a few years, but it's taken enormous effort on the part of technology companies and Internet Service Providers to roll the system out.
For those users already connected to the web via IPv6 systems, they will be automatically directed to the participating websites through the the new system.
Experts have been at some pains to say that despite the problems facing IPv4 saturation this is not a Y2K moment when planes will fall out of the sky. "The web will continue to work, but future growth would be stymied. It is just like when we used up the phone numbers in London."
Assuming todays trial is successful, this will act as a catalyst to encourage other companies to roll-out IPv6 infrastructure during 2012.