IPv6 is not exactly a topic we would normally expect to see on the hugely popular Lifehacker website, but there it was on Friday in a story by Patrick Allan, “Why Disabling IPv6 Won’t Speed Up Your Internet Connection“. In the article, Patrick references an earlier article on How-To Geek that aims to dispel the idea that disabling IPv6 would somehow speed up your Internet access.
In both articles, the authors make the point that earlier versions of web browsers would sometimes have significant delays in connecting to web sites if IPv6 was involved. For example, if a website had a AAAA record with an IPv6 address a browser would sometimes try and try… and try… to connect to the site over IPv6… even if the computer itself had no IPv6 connection!
Thankfully, in 2014 almost all web browsers now use some variation of the “Happy Eyeballs” algorithm defined in RFC 6555 where they try to connect over both IPv6 and IPv4 and use whichever connection works best and so these web browser problems are now a thing of the past.
As both articles note, you may do more damage to your computer by disabling IPv6 these days, simply because we are running out of IPv4 addresses and many sites and networks are already well underway with their transitions to IPv6 (or have already completed those transitions).
We’re very pleased to see Lifehacker pointing this out… and look forward to more such articles as the IPv6 transition is happening rapidly around us!
If you would like to make the transition to IPv6, please see our Start Here page to find resources that will help you out!