Google engineers say it was not expensive and required only a small team of developers to enable all of the company's applications to support IPv6, a long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol.
"We can provide all Google services over IPv6," said Google network engineer Lorenzo Colitti during a panel discussion at a meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). in San Francisco.
Colitti said a "small, core team" spent 18 months enabling IPv6, from the initial network architecture and software engineering work, through a pilot phase, until Google over IPv6 was made publicly available. Google engineers worked on the IPv6 effort as a 20% project -- meaning it was in addition to their regular work -- from July 2007 until January 2009.
Building a pilot IPv6 network "was not expensive," said Colitti, who recommended rolling out IPv6 in stages. "There's nothing inherently unreliable about IPv6."
Google is already reaping the benefits of IPv6. "It's refreshingly simple" to look at a network with globally addressable devices, Colitti said. He was speaking as concern is mounting about the slow uptake of IPv6.
Google's comments at the IETF meeting come days after the Web leader held a conference in Mountain View, Calif., for IPv6 implementers.
Also this month, Google published a manifesto on its public policy blog explaining why IPv6 matters.
Google's experience with IPv6 is significant because only a handful of leading-edge U.S. companies have embraced the next-generation Internet protocol.
The IETF created IPv6 in 1995 as a replacement to the existing version of the Internet Protocol, known as IPv4.