2012/06/06 - World IPv6 Launch Day
Today (6 June) is World IPv6 Launch Day. During the course of today a number of major web sites and Internet service providers will permanently IPv6-enable their services. Those involved include Google, YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo! and Akamai (one of the world's largest content providers).

Approximately half of Rhodes' campus is IPv6-enabled (primarily academic buildings between Prince Alfred St and Lucas Avenue - not residences or labs). Many people in these parts of campus already use IPv6 to access our internal services (such as e-mail) without realising it, and our experience is that this is mostly trouble free.

During World IPv6 Day last year, we had an opportunity to observe the effects of a world-wide IPv6 deployment. It turned out to be like the year 2000 -- a lot of FUD and very few actual problems. Thus we do not anticipate there to be many (if any) problems as a result of the launch.

Rhodes' case, this will generally only apply to secure sites (https://), since non-secure sites will still use our IPv4-only proxy servers. We have no intention of IPv6-enabling our proxies at this stage, largely because their future is uncertain in the SANReN era.

To see if you're using an IPv6-enabled PC, visit
For the record, Rhodes got its first IPv6 allocation on 13 February 2004 and have been actively using it on production servers since October 2005. It was one of the first South African universities to do so. The first IPv6-enabled service we made available to the Internet in general was incoming e-mail, followed shortly afterwards by DNS. On 19 September 2007, became the first IPv6-enabled DNS server in South Africa to answer IPv6 queries for .za (and a number of other country-code top-level domains in Africa).

IPv6-support has been a standard criteria for evaluating new equipment for many years, and is currently supported throughout our network. Most core services (e-mail, etc) are IPv6-enabled and have been for many years. The notable exception is our proxy servers, for reasons mentioned in the earlier post. In addition, the University's main web server is not fully IPv6 enabled. However we've recently started publishing an IPv6 DNS record for

Support for IPv6-enabled desktop computers was initially its scope limited to the IT Division and a few select departments, but since March 2009 we've been IPv6-enabling the networks in most academic buildings on main campus as a matter of routine. Most modern operating systems (Windows 7, Linux, OSX, etc) support IPv6 by default, and so it is likely that people in IPv6-enabled buildings are using IPv6 without realising it. (This is, of course, the intention.)

For various logistical and policy reasons we've deliberately refrained from IPv6-enabling the Student Network (i.e. residences) and public computer labs. However, it is likely that we'll do so in due course (and certainly well before it becomes a problem).