Experience IPv6 at TechEd Australia 2010

Conference internet connectivity can be a bit of a hit or miss but Microsoft Australia’s event gurus has always put in their best effort to make it better.

This year at TechEd Australia 2010, they’re stepping it up a notch (or two) by offering native IPv6 connectivity for all conference delegates.

A first for a Microsoft TechEd anywhere and possibly first for a Microsoft event, every wireless and wired user (with an IPv6-supported OS like Windows 7) at TechEd Australia will have a public and globally routable IPv6 address.

In contrast to a traditional IPv4 network, this means the router will no longer have to allocate internal IPs that can only be reached either through the packet maze that is Network Address Translation (NAT).

Although the benefits of IPv6 won’t be as obvious until it has greater adoption, at least TechEd attendees will be able to brag about their newly assigned 128-bit addresses on Facebook accessed through their special IPv6 URL (www.v6.facebook.com).

For an event the scale of TechEd where thousands of unmanaged and differently configured systems are expected to be connected throughout the day, I tip my hat to the team for even attempting such a bold deployment. Should something blow up, you’ll be able to read about it on their TechEd Backstage blog.

I can’t wait to ride the IPv6 wave in a couple weeks.

2 insightful thoughts

  1. Some parts of how this will play out will be interesting. Firstly, doing something in a lab is entirely different to doing it in front of 2500 hyper-critical geeks with twitter accounts and blogs. Secondly, I think that enterprise admins are going to find some of the points we’re pushing pretty contentious (there is a lot of IPv4 religion people need to lose and the fact that NAT == firewall in v4 is more of a design flaw than a feature) – but I’ll let Jorke tell you all about that. ;)

    I love challenging conventional wisdom and cannot wait for it.

    At the very least, I think we will kick off the discussion of IPv6 for Windows oriented people in earnest. If we achieve that and show people that we can pull off a hyper-risky deployment in the context of an event, then I hope it will give people the confidence to start their own deployments.

    If we use up the entire allocation that APNIC gave us for the event, then every delegate can have 483,570,327,845,851,669,882 IP addresses before we run out. :)

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