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What is IPv6?
Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6) is the current generation of the language that computers use to communicate with each other on the internet. IPv6 replaces the IPv4 standard, that was used since 1981.
Virginia Tech began experimenting with IPv6 networking in 1997 and currently supports IPv6 on the majority of campus networks. VT began using Google over IPv6 when it was first offered in 2009. Today most major internet services are available over IPv6.
The most important feature of IPv6 is the much larger address space than in IPv4. The length of an IPv6 address is 128 bits (approximately 340 trillion trillion trillion unique addresses), compared to 32 bits in IPv4 (4 billion unique addresses). The use of globally-unique addresses is critical in creating an open and free network of people and devices that can all interact as peers. On February 3, 2011, the last remaining addresses in the IPv4 free pool were assigned -- meaning the move to IPv6 was even more important.
IPv6 at Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is currently a leader in the large-scale production deployment of IPv6, with over twenty years of experience and tens of thousands of native IPv6 clients. In 2010, the university was ranked by Google as one of the largest deployments worldwide, behind only nations such as France and China. Globally reachable by IPv6, Virginia Tech faculty are able to conduct research around the world using IPv6-only networks.
More recently, the university was asked to consult and advise the United States Federal IPv6 Task Force to offer expertise on what we've learned about the transition to IPv6. Randy Marchany, Virginia Tech's Chief Information Security Officer, and Carl Harris, Chief Technology Architect, presented for federal agency CIOs at the White House Briefing Center in January 2011, at the 2011 Department of Energy Information Management Conference in March 2011, and presented at the IPv6 World Congress in London in June 2011.
Virginia Tech joined World IPv6 Launch. Major Internet service providers (ISPs), home networking equipment manufacturers, and web companies around the world came together to permanently enable IPv6 for their products and services in June 2012. Since then, VT has maintained high standards for reliability of IPv6 services, as more users on campus have adopted dual-stack configurations.
Virginia Tech continues to offer both IPv4 with private addressing and IPv6, on a dual-stack network.