IPv6 Transition Test Proves Successful

LOS ANGELES — Tech experts say the Internet passed the IPv6 test without a hitch this week when a few hundred companies tested the new protocol during a 24-hour period.

Google, Facebook and Microsoft teamed up for a large-scale production test of the next Internet protocol, IPv6.

The test was organized by the Internet Society to raise awareness of the need for a global transition and gave participants an opportunity to gather data about potential glitches.

The availability of IPv4 addresses has decreased and experts say they will likely to run out in a few months. IPv4 addresses are 32 bits, which allows about 4 billion under the protocol.

The new IPv6 addresses are 128 bits, allowing a total of 340 undecillion. "Undecillion" designates 11 sets of three zeros, plus one more set for the U.S. numbering system. This number is believed to be inexhaustible for the foreseeable future.

But many say the big transition, which will happen in 2012, isn’t likely to go as smoothly. Experts believe about 80 percent of consumers and businesses will wait until the last minute to make the change.