World IPv6 Day, Chickens, Eggs & Mozilla


Mozilla has a long history of being a technology leader on the web and open standards. A short, and certainly not exhaustive, list includes:

  1. Firefox (of course)
  2. HTML5
  3. Geolocation
  4. Do Not Track

IT/Operations is often the unglamorous side of Mozilla. We work in the shadows and you generally don’t see us unless something’s broken. However, we want to push technology forward too. We like to be thought leaders. We like to solve the “chicken-and-egg” problem. For example, over the summer of 2010, we laid the infrastructure ground work for DNSSEC and published a signed zone.

This year we’re ready for another challenge and are excited to join others in support of the World IPv6 Day! June 8, 2011 will be the first global-scale “test flight” of IPv6 and we’re going to be a part of it. This will also be our chance to see which parts of the network already support IPv6 and which parts require software (or hardware) upgrades.

As part of World IPv6 Day, we’ll offer a couple marquee Mozilla web properties over IPv6. We’ll be able to measure how many users are already dual-stack (both IPv4 & IPv6) vs. those who don’t yet have IPv6 capabilities. In short, we’ll have a view on the state of the Internet’s IPv6 end-user deployment.

What is IPv6?
IPv6 is the next generation protocol for the Internet. The current protocol, IPv4, is based on 32-bit addressing and has the familiar syntax of Unfortunately, after more than 30 years, the Internet is running out of available IPv4 address space.

IPv6 (and it’s 128-bit addressing) provides a vast increase in available address space – 4 billion times the number that are available under IPv4. Addresses take on an entirely new syntax – 2620:101:8003:200:217:f2ff:fe09:d8ea, for example.

When I started at Mozilla in 2006, I continued the IPv6 work I was doing at my last job and for some time now Mozilla’s had a production v6 network announced out of our San Jose data center. I even experimented with a couple websites back in 2007. Unfortunately, there’s been a lack of user demand and, as such, the “chicken-and-egg” problem.

We recently traded in our original /48 allocation in exchange for a /44 and are slowly renumbering and bringing up native IPv6 peering with Mozilla’s transit providers. My Network Engineers even pushed out native IPv6 connectivity within Mozilla’s Mountain View office.

Those interested in tracking our progress can follow along in bug 630581.

I hope you’ll follow along with us in the coming months and join us for World IPv6 Day on June 8, 2011!


Categories: Networking

9 responses

  1. Simon wrote on :

    IT/Operations is often the unglamorous side of Mozilla. We work in the shadows and you generally don’t see us unless something’s broken

    It’s the same anywhere – Operations are the network ninjas, invisible so long as they’re doing their job properly. But a bit more recognition would be nice sometimes…

  2. Dustin J. Mitchell wrote on :

    I’ll be excited to see if the Mozilla VPNs support IPv6 on WI6D 🙂

  3. Ludovic wrote on :

    Would also be nice to fix necko and the few issues necko has with ipv6 see

  4. Anonymous wrote on :

    Why would you need more than a /48? I’d love to see a post explaining some of the details of IPv6 routing setups, and why you need so many addresses.

    1. mrz wrote on :

      Mozilla has a couple different data center sites behind different ASNs. We’ll break up the /44 and route /48s from those locations.

  5. Zack wrote on :

    Minor correction: “four billion times” is a serious underestimate. There are 296 more addresses in IPv6, which is a little bit shy of an octillion (short scale). Four billion would have been if they’d doubled the address length instead of quadrupling it.

  6. David Boswell wrote on :

    Cool. And very timely. I read an article on Ars Technica a couple weeks ago with the headline: River of IPv4 addresses officially runs dry. Sounded scary to me 🙂


  7. Ron wrote on :

    The number of addresses in IPv6 is mind-boggling larger than just 4 billion times bigger than IPv4. It would be 4 billion times if IPv6 were only 64-bit addresses. Instead, it’s 4 billion times 4 billion times 4 billion. Which is approximately 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (28 zeros) times more addresses. The total number of IPv6 addresses is more than a 3 followed by 38 zeros.

  8. Paul wrote on :

    Practically speaking, though, IPv6 does use 64-bit addresses, since /64 is the recommended prefix length for a subnet.