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NLM Participates in World IPv6 Day, June 8, 2011

"Stress Test" of Internet Infrastructure Unites Public, Private Sector Groups around the Globe


The National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world's largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, is among a small number of US government agencies that will participate in World IPv6 Day, Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol used for relaying datagrams or packets of information across an internetwork, such as the Internet. Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the newest version of IP, succeeding the 30-year-old IPv4.

With a dramatic increase in the number of Internet users worldwide and an explosion in the number of IP-enabled devices, the last of the IPv4 addresses were distributed earlier this year. To ensure that the next generation of IP is supported sufficiently, organizations must now create a parallel network which supports IPv6 alongside the current predominant version, IPv4. World IPv6 Day, a collaborative effort of the Internet Society (ISOC) and the global online community, encourages organizations to prepare their services for IPv6, motivating them to embrace the change to this new IP and allowing them 24 hours in which to test their technology.

The day is being billed as a 24-hour "test flight." If all goes well, existing IPv4 users will not notice any difference, but new IPv6 users will be able to access NLM online resources natively over IPv6 for the first time. Also, importantly, NLM staff in the Office of Computer and Communications Systems (OCCS) will be able to detect any problems in the system and correct them for the future. Many participants will actually turn off IPv6 on June 9, but the eventual goal is permanent deployment of the new protocols.

Enabled applications during the Library's 24-hour test will include the main NLM Web site, MedlinePlus, Daily Med and the MeSH Browser.

Participation in World IPv6 day affirms that NLM is current with new technologies providing public access to its electronic resources. Publicity surrounding this worldwide test may also generate new, recurrent users of NLM databases. NLM is also complying with requirements set out by Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra in a September 28, 2010 memorandum ( ): to conduct testing of IPv6 and be able to grant complete access by September 30, 2012, the end of federal Fiscal Year 2012.World IPv6 day should not cause any risk or inconvenience to current users, and OCCS anticipates no performance or reliability challenges.

For a recent listing of government agencies participating in World IPv6 Day, go to:


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