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IPv6 is great, says Facebook. For us. And for you a bit, too

Zuck squad discovers what the rest of the world is already ignoring

Facebook has wandered down to Speakers' Corner and climbed onto a fruit-crate to spruik the benefits of the decades-old, much-needed and still-relatively-unused IPv6 protocol.

With IPv4 addresses just-about-depleted worldwide, Facebook has penned a blog post telling websites to roll out the protocol, if they haven't already.

The post noted that “only 16.3 per cent of the top 1,000 websites have enabled IPv6 (according to That means there’s another 83.7 per cent that are missing out on the benefits of IPv6”.

From the point of view of one of the biggest data centre networks in the world, the vast advertising platform is in a decent position to judge, and reckoned that site owners who make the change will get the benefit of a speed boost.

It said:

We’ve observed that accessing Facebook can be 10-15 per cent faster over IPv6. We believe other developers will see similar advantages from migrating.

Even at the low end of that claim, a decent performance boost would go a long way to convincing a CFO that the migration was worth the effort. After all, getting a speed boost in any network of scale costs money in switches, servers and routers.

Facebook also reiterated other better-known benefits of IPv6: devices return to the pre-NAT model of being directly addressable on the network (something The Register is certain will spark a security debate among commentards); better interoperability and mobility; and the auto-configuration of IPv6 stacks that should make networks easier to manage.

As The Register noted in July, Apple's iOS 9 (due to land this week) will try all its connections over IPv6 first, reverting to IPv4 only if there's no IPv6 connection available.

According to PC World, Facebook's expecting the upgrade to drive up IPv6 traffic, with operators Verizon and Comcast concurring.

Verizon told the Facebook @scale conference that IPv6 traffic on its network could reach 70 per cent by the end of the year, while Comcast's expectation is a more modest 50 per cent. ®

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