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IP version 6

Internet - The Next Generation

In this series I describe my little adventure in which I discover IPv6. I will add an assortment of ressources, side lines, and other stories for the benefit of the reader...

Where available, links will be provided into the classic and familiar IPv4 world and the wondrous and new IPv6 world.

What is IPv6

The address space for the current version of TCP/IP will run out during the next few years - estimations suggest that the last address block will be assigned somewhen between 2010 and 2012. Then panic may commence - at least amongst those wanting to establish new servers and those wanting to access them.

IPv6 is the designated solution to this problem. The first protocol standards for IPv6 have existed since 1995/6 (RFC 1884) - it is (as of 2009) high time to use them.

IPv6 expands the address space from 32 bits in IPv4 to 128 bits and adds a few nice features that will be discussed in more detail below. The protocols below (eg. ethernet) and above (eg. TCP, HTTP) IP stay (almost) identical.

Getting Started

This is the simple part: taking the first step.

With most Linux and *BSD distributions the distributor will have taken that step for you - IPv6 is already enabled - if not a modprobe ipv6 will do. You will notice strange new addresses when you type in ifconfig:

tmp >/sbin/ifconfig
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:e0:81:2e:b6:d1
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::2e0:81ff:fe2e:b6d1/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:6425832 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:6971752 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:100
          RX bytes:2800403434 (2.6 GiB)  TX bytes:4317228786 (4.0 GiB)

Windows Vista also has IPv6 enabled by default. Windows XP needs to be upgraded to SP2 or newer, then go to into the network connection configuration, select your network card and install the new protocol "Microsoft TCP/IP Version 6" for it. When you do ipconfig the next time it will look like this:

Ethernetadapter LAN-Verbindung:

        Verbindungsspezifisches DNS-Suffix: lan.local
        IP-Adresse. . . . . . . . . . . . :
        Subnetzmaske. . . . . . . . . . . :
        IP-Adresse. . . . . . . . . . . . : fe80::20c:29ff:fe98:2d8%4
        Standardgateway . . . . . . . . . :

That you see a fe80::* address in both cases means that the network card is already configured to use IPv6. There is not much you can do with this yet.

If you happen to be in a network that has an IPv6 based gateway you will see more addresses and you will be able to actually use IPv6 for communication with the outside world. If you are not one of those few lucky ones, the tutorials below will guide you and also tell you why it would have been so easy.

The Journey

There are quite a few theoretical and practical aspects to IPv6, the remaining articles in this series will address them:






please mail me (konrad AT silmor DOT de) or the LUG-Dresden if you have questions

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