At the UCLA Mathematics Department we are running out of IPv4 addresses. Campus Network Services has a limited stock of additional addresses they could give us, and this issue is repeated at all scales. What are we going to do to give addresses to machines that seem to reproduce like rabbits?
[This is a work in progress. Not all steps have been actually accomplished to bring IPv6 to the Mathematics Department.]
For the eventual solution we have these requirements:
The solution must work for all operating systems: Linux, Windows, Macintosh, and embedded systems such as wireless access points, network printers, and managed switches.
The solution must be feasible for machines not under our administrative control, such as personal laptops, PDAs and 802.11-capable cellphones.
The solution must be inexpensive in money and labor. Replacing our whole network infrastructure is not going to happen, and handcrafted installation on every machine is not something to look forward to.
Affected machines must be able to do their normal interaction with internal and global servers without the need to install specially modified application software.
While the majority of activities are single TCP or UDP connections originated by the client, a minority involve backchannels from the peer (active FTP, H.323 and SIP), and some machines must accept unsolicited connections from outside (remote login). In some settings, but not ours, users may expect to participate in online games, some of which require ad-hoc connections originating on the outside.
There are two classes of solution: NAT and IPv6.
RFC 1918 defines three IPv4
address blocks for use on internal LANs: 10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12 and
192.168.0.0/16. Any of these blocks would provide vastly more addresses than
we would ever need. To connect to an outside server, a client with such an
address needs a route through a NAT box with a
real IPv4 address, which
alters outgoing packets to appear to come from itself, and inversely alters the
This technology is widely available and is well understood. Linux and Windows include NAT routing capability as a standard feature, and router boxes for home DSL lines normally do also. Cisco provides NAT devices at extra cost. No modification whatsoever is needed on the clients; at most, fixed addresses (if any) would need to be changed.
But NAT does have limitations.
If a packet has a HMAC (security checksum) that includes altered addresses and ports, the NAT box will not have the key for recreating the checksum, the peer will consider the packet to be fraudulently altered, and the protocol will be unuseable. SSL/TLS does not include the addresses in the HMAC; IPSec and OpenVPN have workarounds; but not all secure protocols are resistant to NAT.
Some protocols, foremost being the VoIP protocols SIP and H.323, and
active FTP, involve multiple related connections some of which are made from
the remote peer back to the originating host, seeming to the peer to be
the NAT box's
real address. The NAT box needs to intercept such traffic
and do the reverse transformation on it. Helper modules need to be handcrafted
for each protocol. On Linux, modules exist for the protocols named (and
others; see Appendix B), but other such protocols will not be supported. Other
NAT equipment may or may not have the needed modules. For SIP the STUN
protocol is widely used to get through uncooperative NAT, in which the
originating host discovers the NATted address that the peer needs to connect
Servers behind NAT are very difficult. I'm defining a server as a
machine to which wild-side clients make connections such as, in our case,
remote login. The NAT box can be configured relatively easily to forward
specific ports like SMTP (mail) to specific servers, one server per port, but
generic access to machines on the internal network is absolutely impossible.
For us, this is the biggest objection to NAT. However, internal non-NAT
servers would have routes onto the NAT network, and hence could act as a
Janus host: the remote user logs in to the non-NAT server and from there
logs in again to the internal machine with a RFC 1918 address.
Since the world will soon use up all its IPv4 addresses, a new protocol has been developed with vastly more addresses: 2128 of them, an outrageously large number. For example, the tunnel broker that I investigated will give you -- for free -- an allotment of 280 addresses, which is enough to give an individual IPv6 address to every cell in the body of every person in the state of Ohio.
Linux, Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh OS-X support IPv6 in the kernel and utilities, and have done so for years, since work began on IPv6. On Linux at least, firewall modules are well developed. However, helper modules for reverse connections are not ready yet; in the IPv4 firewall these recognize incoming connections related to one originating on an internal client, e.g. for SIP, and let them through, where an original connection from outside would be subject to stricter firewall rules.
On Linux, many subsystems support IPv6. See Appendix C for a list of software supporting IPv6; this includes the major service daemons, and corresponding client software such as the popular web browsers and mail readers. Existing software that makes or listens for network connections on IPv4 do not automatically support IPv6, but there is a library routine, getaddrinfo, which can automatically switch between IPv4 and IPv6 as needed, and which is almost a drop-in replacement for gethostbyname.
There is a functioning intercontinental backbone, with infrastructure such as IPv6-enabled root nameservers. If the partners in an IP connection can get their packets to the backbone, they can make the connection work.
The IPv6 stack includes a number of technical improvements such as kernel-level tunneling and encryption, and automatic host configuration so that DHCP is no longer necessary.
But the features of IPv6 are not all good.
The existing Internet servers use IPv4. Because presently there are very few IPv6-only clients (in the USA), the servers' operating companies have little motivation to add IPv6 support. It is hard to find out which commercial services support IPv6. Google does (starting around 2009-08-xx their main search site can be reached via both IPv4 and IPv6), but we can expect that most IPv6 clients will spend most of their time originating connections to existing IPv4 servers.
Few ISPs support IPv6. Our Campus Network Services does support it, but home users will have to use the procedure described below, involving a tunnel broker, to get on the sixbone (IPv6 backbone) and from there to our IPv6-only machines.
Not every client software package has been converted to support IPv6, only the well-maintained ones.
Cisco routers know about IPv4, but does our router board understand IPv6? Somehow I doubt it. Either we would need to upgrade hardware, or possibly just upgrade to the latest version of IOS, or have all IPv6 routing done by Linux boxes. But given the functions described below, Linux routers are going to be essential anyway.
While the more modern network printers, managed network switches and access points can do IPv6, older embedded systems cannot. We would have to exclude obsolete equipment of this type from the IPv6 net. Similarly, all Windows boxes would have to be upgraded to WinXP (which we have almost finished). User equipment such as smart phones is mostly modern and should (we hope) be able to do IPv6. (Android "Cupcake" on the HTC G1 does not do IPv6, nor does the contract carrier, T-Mobile.)
There are two issues here. First, IPv6 is the future of the Internet. At any time one of our faculty members may have a need to communicate with colleagues on an IPv6-only net, particularly in China, and we will have to scramble to provide the service. It's best to get IPv6 set up and working at the earliest feasible time, in parallel with our IPv4 service.
On the other hand, the future is not here yet, and if we have IPv6-only hosts they will spend most of their time interacting with IPv4-only peers. To make that happen we need a solution functionally equivalent to NAT (possibilities are detailed below). It makes a lot more sense to do the NAT on IPv4. In other words, we should use RFC 1918 addresses to expand our IPv4 address space.
In addition, we still need to deal with equipment which is IPv4-only because it is obsolete or because the designers lacked the imagination we have about the future of IPv6.
So the conclusion is, we need to do both NAT-4 and IPv6.
What arguments can be given to upper management to induce them to support IPv6?
It is hard to obtain public (non-NAT) IPv4 addresses for the use of company sites that need to be accessible to the global Internet. In the case of an ISP, or the equivalent at a university, this means that the business cannot grow if restricted to IPv4 space.
As the supply of IPv4 addresses dwindles, more ISPs are going to have to offer IPv6-only services to their (and your) customers, and the best way for your business to serve those clients is with IPv6 servers.
Whereas in IPv4 it is easy for an attacker to scan entire subnets for vulnerable victims, the vast number of unoccupied addresses makes this attack strategy impractical in IPv6.
As the pressure for IPv6 grows, companies that remain stuck in the IPv4 world will be seen as reactionary and obsolete.
Here's a checklist of what you need, to add IPv6 support to your business.
I am assuming a
dual stack model in which the same servers and network
equipment handle both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic. There is no need whatsoever
to replace working servers when adding IPv6.
Does your ISP support IPv6? If not you can use a tunnel (described
below) to a
tunnel broker who is connected to the backbone, but the
ideal is to pick an ISP who can provide the service you need.
Does your domain (DNS) registrar accept AAAA records, which translate from your domain name to your IPv6 addresses? You also need a PTR record to translate from the address back to your name. And do your registrar's and ISP's nameservers themselves have IPv6 addresses so your customers can actually read the AAAA and PTR records?
Does your internal networking equipment know about IPv6? Hubs and ordinary switches are fine, but in a medium or large business where routing is necessary between internal subnets, the router board may have to be upgraded, an unfortunate expense item. But if you use Linux boxes to do routing, they already know about IPv6.
Does your webserver or whatever other server support IPv6? Apache, the most popular webserver software, has supported it for many years, and it's likely that competitors do also. Server hardware does not deal with IP; there will be no expense for new hardware.
ISP, Campus Telecommunication Services, already provides IPv6
transport to departments desiring it. However, our main router is rather
elderly, We hope we will just need to upgrade the operating system. But
until the router can handle IPv6, we need an IPv6-in-IPv4 tunnel, we hope
just from our department to Campus Telecommunication Services.
Alternatively we could put in a Linux-based router.
Stateless autoconfiguration shall be used for unicast addresses. While in IPv4 Mathnet uses arbitrarily assigned fixed addresses, in IPv6 the address shall be derived in the standard manner from the MAC address (see RFC 2464) and Mathnet shall go along with the address thus configured.
All machines under Mathnet's administrative control shall have AAAA and PTR records for their names and addresses, using the autoconfigured addresses, and accessible over IPv6 to the global Internet. Mathnet will allow rogue machines (those not controlled by us) to be registered so they can also have AAAA and PTR records.
Router advertisement per RFC 2461 shall be used to propagate the default route and MTU to the clients.
IPv6-only clients must be able to make connections to IPv4-only partners (servers) on the wild side or internally.
Wild-side clients with an IPv6 capability must be able to make connections to internal IPv6-only machines, restricted by our access policies.
All servers which now can be reached on IPv4 from the wild side shall get IPv6 addresses, which shall be restricted by access policies similar to those presently applying to IPv4. All services on those machines which can support IPv6 with reasonable effort, shall support it.
We need to move our I.T. infrastructure into the 21st century and hence will deploy IPv6. However, we have an urgent need to expand our address space, and not a lot of confidence in IPv6 to IPv4 NAT-like solutions, and so we will provide IPv4 addresses from RFC 1918 (192.168.x.x and friends) to hosts that don't need a public presence, with a default route through an IPv4 NAT box.
The keystone and single point of failure of this plan is a new machine
called Harlech (which will take over the functions of the existing one, in
particular, the 126.96.36.199 address for DNS). It has four physical gigabit
NICs. It will have one interface on the PSnet, i.e. the "wild side" (which is
in fact in RFC 1918 address space), and one feeding into the Cisco using VLANs
(802.1q) to establish a
direct presence on all five Math-PIC subnets.
Once Harlech is operational we can consider a redundant copy with a slightly higher route metric, which will provide hot failover. When and as feasible, e.g. with upgrades to IOS and the router board, some of these functions can be transferred to the various Cisco boxes.
Harlech will have a DHCP server (replacing the present one on Windows). This server will pass out two classes of IPv4 addresses. Fixed IPs will be matched up with MAC addresses, and we can consider no longer doing explicit configuration of the IPv4 address on workstations, as Ed has suggested for PIC. Some of these addresses can be RFC 1918 type, e.g. for printers and network switch administrative ports. Further, an inexhaustible pool of RFC 1918 addresses will be available on each subnet for rogue machines.
Both the public and RFC 1918 addresses will run on the same subnets. All the devices holding RFC 1918 addresses will have a default route through Harlech, either as a DHCP setting or by explicit configuration. If feasible without a lot of work, each host will have a device route on its main NIC for both the subnet's public and RFC 1918 address range. Hosts for which this is not feasible (e.g. printers) will route packets (that could have gone direct) through Harlech in a mirror mode.
Packets sent from RFC 1918 hosts offsite through Harlech will get NAT treatment. This precludes incoming connections (remote login) from the wild side to a RFC 1918 host. To the extent feasible, helper modules included in the Linux kernel will be deployed so protocols will work if they use back connections, e.g. VoIP protocols.
Harlech will route IPv6 packets among the various Math-PIC subnets and the wild side in the normal way for IPv6. Mathnet will obtain an IPv6 prefix for each of our five VLANs. Harlech will advertise itself as the only router through which IPv6 packets can be sent, and will be the default IPv6 route on the Math-PIC subnets.
Per RFC 2464 the Math-PIC hosts will use IPv6 addresses derived from their MAC addresses, which will be made available via DNS if the host is registered. As soon as Harlech sends its first router advertisement they will all do this automatically and become fully operational on IPv6.
IPSec traffic, both IPv6 and IPv4, would be directed to Harlech's wild side interface. IPv4 traffic would get the NAT treatment on the Mathnet side, so as to attract returning packets back to Harlech rather than to the more preferred default route on the Cisco. Secure IPv6 could go through unmunged, because Harlech holds the default route. OpenVPN will also be handled through Harlech's wild side.
Here are my experiences setting up IPv6 on my home server, using it as a testbed for the proposed departmental deployment. See RFC 2373 for the textual format of an IPv6 address.
The first step was to listen for router advertisements coming from the wild side, presumably from my home ISP (Verizon DSL). The command line was
This would get all IPv6 traffic, not just router advertisements. The default interval in Linux's /etc/radvd.conf is every 3 to 10 seconds (varying randomly). Ten minutes of listening revealed . . . Silence. My ISP does not support IPv6. It was time to turn to plan B: connect through a tunnel broker.tcpdump -l -i eth1 ip6
However, at work during a 5 minute listening period, three different rogue machines (not under Mathnet's control) were seen to transmit neighbor solicitations and replies, DHCP6 solictations, and MDNS requests. Possibly these are personal Macintoshes or PDAs. Of course no server answered the DHCP6 or MDNS packets. These were sent to appropriate multicast addresses and at the link level were sent to 33:33:ww:xx:yy:zz where the variable part is the low 32 bits of the multicast address, per RFC 2464. The Cisco switch recognized this as a broadcast-like address.
Being located in California (USA), I picked Hurricane Electric, http://tunnelbroker.net/, as my tunnel broker. You need to register; you pick a loginID and they mail back a password of, in my case, 8 decimal digits. Update: starting on 2009-02-06 they use 10 truly random alphanumerics (about 48 bits entropy).
Once registered, you can connect to your tunnel status page and create up to four tunnels. For simplicity choose a host with a fixed IPv4 address (dynamic addresses can also be handled; see below). The tunnel server will need to exchange packets to it in the IP-in-IP protocol, number 4, and also, when the tunnel is created the administrative server will want to ping it, so you will need to open a hole in your firewall for these items. The IPv4 addresses of the two servers will be shown when you create the tunnel. (You create the tunnel first, then configure your end so it works.)
You will be assigned a block of 264 IPv6 addresses; you can request 280 addresses after the tunnel is created. The IPv6 address will look like 2001:2345:6789:abcd::/64. Your and their end of the tunnel will be in an adjacent block. Their policy is to give their end of the tunnel the address ending in 1, and yours will end in 2.
Their nameserver can delegate reverse DNS to your own nameserver(s); this is for PTR records mapping addresses in your block to alphabetic names. It helps a lot if your nameserver has, or will soon have, an IPv6 address and a corresponding AAAA record. You will need to work with your domain registrar to insert AAAA records that map names of your hosts to IPv6 addresses.
Now you need to configure your tunnel endpoint machine. The tunnel status page has a listbox for showing sample configuration procedures on various systems. I'm using the iproute2 tools (ifconfig could also be used), and my procedure was:
modprobe ipv6 # For me, loaded by default modprobe sit # For me, NOT loaded by default ip tunnel add he-ipv6 mode sit remote 188.8.131.52 local 184.108.40.206 ttl 255 ip link set he-ipv6 up ip addr add 2001:2345:6789:abcd::2/64 dev he-ipv6 ip route add 2000::/3 dev he-ipv6 # Add default route ip -f inet6 addr show # Check the IPv6 addresses
At this point, executing on the endpoint machine, you should be able to do:
ping6 2001:2345:6789:abcd::1 # Their end of the tunnel
And you can use a web browser to contact http://ipv6.google.com (offers normal search services) or http://www.kame.net (the logo image is animated if you get and use the AAAA record, or is static on IPv4).
Items to watch out for:
If the endpoint machine has a firewall, it needs to let through the IP-in-IP packets (protocol number 4) from and to the other end of the tunnel, as well as IPv4 ping requests and replies when the tunnel is created.
If your organization's or home's router has its own firewall, which is likely, it also needs to let through the same packets.
If your endpoint is behind a NAT box (network address translation), which is common for a home network, you may need to do some fairly fancy configuration, not covered here, to pass the IP-in-IP packets to the correct internal machine. But it may be sufficient on some NAT boxes to simply ping the other endpoint's IPv6 address at a low rate (see sample command line above; each ping causes an IP-in-IP out from your box and a reply from the other end), so the connection tracker can see the relation with the other tunnel endpoint's IPv4 address, and will not time out. Assuming it is even willing to do a connection track on other than UDP or TCP protocols.
If your endpoint (or NAT box) has a dynamic DHCP address, then when it changes you need to notify the tunnel broker. While testing you can do this manually on your tunnel detail page, but in production you will need to add an appropriate command to the script executed by the DHCP client daemon when the address changes. For Hurricane Electric, make a web query to this URL. I'm illustrating it with wget, but other HTTP clients could also be used such as curl. For readability the URL is folded after each question mark or ampersand but in reality there should be no backslash or whitespace there. The URL must be quoted since question marks and ampersands are shell-active.
echo -n 12345678 | md5sum # Use this sum as the "password". wget -O /tmp/logfile --no-check-certificate \ 'https://ipv4.tunnelbroker.net/ipv4_end.php?\ ipv4b=220.127.116.11&\ pass=0123456789abcdef0123456789abcdef&\ user_id=fedcba9876543210fedcba9876543210&\ tunnel_id=12345'
The arguments are:
Your next challenge is to set up normal network infrastructure on IPv6 for your internal subnet. This involves address assignment, DNS (domain name service, that is, translating names to addresses), and routing. I'm assuming that the tunnel endpoint is also the server where infrastructure daemons run, although in reality most of the deaemons could be on a different machine.
Unlike with IPv4, it is common for one machine to have several IPv6 addresses at the same time. Most of the addresses are [supposed to be] derived from the MAC address per RFC 2464. In addition, each machine listens to several multicast groups, one of which acts like the IPv4 broadcast address.
There are four variants of address assignment.
Each interface automatically configures itself with a
address derived from the MAC address. This is used for
discovery per RFC 2461, which is the IPv6 equivalent
of ARP, and to forward traffic to a router. In theory, hosts on an isolated
network segment can usefully communicate with each other using only this
If the radvd (router advertisement daemon) runs on the tunnel endpoint per RFC 2461, each machine can use the daemon's report about the local subnet to configure its own address, which combines the local subnet prefix and the host's MAC address in a repeatable manner. A virtual machine will need to have a unique MAC address assigned. This configuration happens in the IPv6 kernel module without the intervention of any daemon on the client. RFC 2462 describes this kind of autoconfiguration.
It's the intention of the RFC that hosts should normally configure this address and should be able to use it for communication on the global Internet as a client or as a server. The main issue with this class of addresses is, if the MAC address changes (e.g. the network card breaks and is replaced), DNS records must simultaneously be updated to show the new address, and this change must propagate through the web of DNS servers.
I use RFC 2462 autoconfiguration on my home net, and I plan to use it on the department net as well. Here is my radvd.conf file. And here is my /etc/hosts file which includes my machines' IPv6 and IPv4 addresses (protected by multiple firewalls). DNS tables are shown later.
For fixed addresses, typically each machine is configured by hand with its assigned name and address, which persists for the life of the machine. This strategy requires more hand labor, but fewer daemons on the server. Your distro likely provides a GUI where you can configure a fixed IPv4 address, but you may need to do some hacking so your interface's fixed IPv6 address is assigned automatically at boot time.
If the dhcp6s server runs somewhere, it can manage an arbitrary pool of addresses. If the client runs dhcp6c, that program can obtain one of the addresses (no configuration file needed unless special flags must be set). As with DHCP on IPv4 the assigned address tends to persist, because after a reboot the client asks to get the same one it had before, but various contingencies could cause that address to be assigned already to a different machine, so the client will have to accept a changed address. Here is my dhcp6s.conf file.
The strategy of fixed addresses and DHCP can be combined: DHCP can be configured to assign fixed addresses to specific hosts, identified by an arbitrary host ID (or, for IPv4, by the MAC address). Unfortunately, though, dhcp6c currently (2008-10-31, version 0.10) accepts but ignores a specified IAID (address pool identifier), instead generating an arbitrary internal value. Here is the dhcp6c.conf file that was supposed to have worked.
Your forward DNS map needs to include an AAAA record for each of your machines, which looks like this:
jacinth IN AAAA 2001:470:1f05:844::2
Here is a shortened version of my forward DNS map. Frequently a small business uses their domain registrar's nameserver rather than providing their own on delegation from the registrar, in which case they will need to use the registrar's web form to post the address assignment. Assuming that the registrar supports IPv6 at all.
PTR records are similar to those for IPv4, though the addressing tree
is rather more complex. To convert a IPv6 address to a domain name for the
PTR record, start with the hexadecimal representation, put in all omitted zeroes, remove the colons, and reverse the
order of the hex digits. Separate them with dots, and append
(ip6, not ipv6). Here is an example:
>> dig www.kame.net. AAAA www.kame.net. 86400 IN AAAA 2001:200:0:8002:203:47ff:fea5:3085 >> dig -x 2001:200:0:8002:203:47ff:fea5:3085 18.104.22.168.5.a.e.f.f.f.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.0.8.0.0.0.0.0.0.188.8.131.52.0.2.ip6.arpa. \ 86400IN PTR orange.kame.net.
Here is a shortened version of my reverse DNS map. Hurricane Electric, my tunnel broker, will delegate the reverse map for my address block to my nameserver, though other ISPs may allow or require clients to copy the whole map onto the ISP's server.
If you are going with addresses per RFC 2464, you
need to know every host's MAC address. To keep the /etc/ethers file at work up
to date, I run this MAC checking
script as part of daily housekeeping. We use Sun-style NIS, and we
have a local program
hostgroup which is used here to spit out the
1-component hostnames of all the servers. Other sites would have to alter the
script to fit their practices.
Given /etc/ethers, you can generate DNS maps, but the process is tedious and error-prone. Here is a script to convert ethers to DNS maps.
Multicast DNS (mdns) is related to DNS in that the goals, content and packet formats are identical, but the basic philosophy is different. With unicast DNS you have a central server which is authoritative for the names and addresses of all hosts on your net -- or frequently, you don't use DNS at all and fall back to a fixed /etc/hosts file. With multicast DNS, each host knows its name and IP address by other means such as DHCP, and it runs its own mdns responder (server) that can send out the corresponding DNS records. Thus all the hosts' mdns responders are federated together to make a complete DNS server. But the multicast addresses used (IPv4 and IPv6) are link-local, so mdns only works on a single network segment unless there are proxies on the routers. My networks are not suitable for mdns and I will not be setting it up.
If the router endpoint machine has been configured per instructions, and if the Router Advertisement Daemon is running (q.v. for a sample configuration file), then client machines will autonomously configure themselves to be functional on IPv6. The router itself does not do so (it doesn't have enough information ab initio), but the configuration instructions indicate the correct command to set the interface address.
For production use you will need to automate setting up IPv6 on the router. Here is my network6 startup script for SuSE and similar LSB-type distros such as Red Hat/Fedora; it can serve as a base for hacking on Debian-type distros.
Service providers, such as e-commerce vendors, financial services, web content vendors, and VoIP services, are firmly rooted in the past, referring to IPv4. As of 2009-08-xx, Google is the only known exception, having given both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses to their primary search site. Thus, until we see real progress among the service providers, our IPv6-only machines will have few network resources to which they can connect with native IPv6. We need a service to translate IPv6 to IPv4.
There are quite a number of issues in translation between IPv4 and IPv6, most of which are irrelevant to us.
|Remote IPv4 only||Remote IPv6 only|
|Tunneling our subnets||We will continue to rely on CNS for IPv4 connectivity.||Campus Network Services gives us IPv6 connectivity.|
|Outsiders connect to our servers||Our servers have IPv4 addresses. No support for remote IPv4 to local IPv6.||Our servers also will have IPv6 addresses; remote client connects natively.|
|We connect to remote servers||Local IPv6 to remote IPv4 is the case we have to deal with.||Our workstations have dual stack and can connect natively. For personal IPv4-only machines, we rely on the remote server to arrange connectivity and/or on a campus-wide solution (if it materializes).|
SIIT (RFC 2765) is a mechanism for converting packet contents in both
directions between the IPv6 and IPv4 protocols. Linux implements it through
sit pseudo network device. However, the generated IPv4 packet has
to come from some address, to which the remote host can send replies, and the
RFC explicitly leaves out of scope how this address is going to be acquired,
and how the IPv4 packets are going to be transported on an IPv6-only network.
SIIT is a building block for a complete protocol translation solution, e.g. NAT
on a router.
Our issue is that we cannot get public IPv4 addresses for our expanding population of hosts. If a solution requires the IPv6 host to also have an IPv4 public address, we cannot provide that address. This means that we need a solution analogous to NAT, where a router holds one public IPv4 address that is shared among all the IPv6 hosts. But if we have to do IPv6 NAT, a much more reasonable solution for us is IPv4 NAT, passing out addresses from RFC 1918 (private) address space.
Comparison of Proposals to Replace NAT-PT (Internet Draft). By Wing, Ward, Durand; 2008-09-29. This document discusses a variety of proposals that bridge the IPv4 and IPv6 address spaces, in the context of replacing the NAT-PT proposal which was determined to be inadequate.
The variants relevant to our case are these:
IVI (sect. 3.2.1): This is similar to SIIT but with a different address format. The IPv6 host sends its DNS queries through a "man in the middle" DNS server. When it asks for the AAAA record for a name, DNS gets the "A" record, transforms it to an IPv6 format, and sends it back. The supplied prefix attracts the IPv6 host's packets to an enterprise NAT box, which does SIIT type protocol conversion. Because of NAT the remote host's IPv4 packets are attracted back to the NAT box, where they get the inverse transformation.
There is also a IPv4 to IPv6 feature which we would not be using. IVI is widely used by Chinese IPv6-only ISPs.
NAT6 (sect. 3.2.2): The IPv6-only host's resolver, upon finding
A record for an IPv4-only remote peer, will convert the address
to an IPv6 format using a prefix served by the enterprise NAT box.
SNAT-PT (sect. 3.2.5): This proposal seems similar to IVI.
IETF working on making IPv6 and IPv4 talk to each other
by Iljitsch van Beijnum in Ars Technica, 2008-10-06.
Stateless IP and ICMP Translation can do the protocol
translation, but requires that the IPv6 client have a dedicated IPv4 address,
which is a problem when the reason for changing to IPv6 is that the
organization cannot get more IPv4 addresses.
NAT-PT means, effectively, to use SIIT from RFC 1918 address space and then to use NAT on the resulting packets. However, if the protocol (like VoIP) includes IP addresses in the payload, it will fail. Also it requires that DNS records be munged to provide a representation of the translated client or server, which is a security problem. Thus NAT-PT did not catch on.
NAT64 is the name of the new scheme. It is like NAT-PT but without the DNS effects.
The links in the list below point to the summaries in this document; summary headlines point to the RFCs themselves.
In this summary I often refer to the 48 bit MAC address as used by IEEE 802 family link-level protocols, specifically Ethernet. IPv6 works over many kinds of links, such as ATM or Token Ring, which have shorter MAC addresses or none at all.
The sending host must send jumbo packets in fragments that fit in the path
MTU. Routers do not fragment packets; they drop the packet and send back
packet too big. The biggest representable jumbo packet is
216 octets long plus the length of the IPv6 header.
Textual Format of Addresses: The 128 bit address is represented by 8 hex numbers of 16 bits each separated by colons; leading 0's optional; one segment of all 0's may be replaced by the null string including at the ends, e.g. :: for all 0's. Alternatively the last 32 bits may be written as a dotted quad like an IPv4 address. The RFC does not say this, but in contexts where an alphabetic domain name is expected, an IPv6 address in [square brackets] will usually be recognized.
CIDR: A network address range is represented by a prefix of a specific number of leading bits. A prefix is represented textually as an IPv6 address, slash, and the number of bits in decimal. The excluded bits need not be 0 and will be cleared when needed. For example: fec0::/10 means the first 10 bits of that address (of which all but 1 are 1 bits).
What an Address Represents: It refers to an interface, e.g. a specific Ethernet or wireless transceiver. One interface usually has multiple addresses. The same address(es) may be assigned to multiple interfaces if they are functionally equivalent at the internet layer, that is, on one host and a packet sent to any interface will be similarly acted upon or responded to.
Assigned Address Ranges. In most addresses the lower 64 bits identify the host and are derived from the MAC address. In the table some minor items are omitted.
|2000::/3||Aggregatable Global Unicast Addresses -- assigned hierarchically (see RFC 2374) for scalable routing tables.|
|fe80::/10||Link-Local Unicast Addresses -- to be used on one link (subnet) for autoconfiguration or neighbor discovery.|
|fec0::/10||Site-Local Unicast Addresses -- Use as a 48 bit prefix, then site subnet ID (16 bits), then interface ID. For use within a site but may not be sent globally.|
|::/96 + ipv4||IPv4 compatible address (6-in-4 tunnels per RFC 1993)|
|::ffff:0:0/96 + ipv4||IPv4 mapped address (IPv4-only hosts per RFC 1993)|
Recognized Addresses: A router recognizes its subnet prefix with the rest
of the bits all 0, and also the
all routers multicast address of ff0S::2
(S = 2 for link scope, i.e. all router(s) on the subnet). All nodes recognize
all nodes multicast address of ff0S::1, which has the same use as
IPv4's broadcast address. They also recognize their link local and global
unicast addresses, and the loopback address of ::1 (within the node only).
Every node recognizes the Solicited-Node Multicast Address for each of its
unicast addresses, which is ff02:0:0:0:0:1:ff00::/104 followed by the last 24
bits of the unicast address. This is used for Neighbor Solicitation
(equivalent to ARP) and some other multicast protocols.
Almost all unicast addresses are [supposed to be] obtained by prepending a 64 bit prefix to a 64 bit Interface Identifier called the EUI-64. This is obtained deterministically as follows: The factory-assigned MAC address is modified (must not use a MAC address altered by software). 0xfffe is squeezed in after the 3rd byte, and the first byte of the MAC address has bit 2 complemented, i.e. xor with 0x02. This bit must be 0 in the Interface Identifier (must be 1 in the MAC) if the MAC address is guaranteed to be globally unique; the opposite polarity is used e.g. for an ad-hoc value for a tunnel or virtual machine (and the following 0x01 bit would normally be 0 in all cases). It's a fact that under 1% of a large sample of MAC addresses have the "globally unique" bit set.
The default link MTU is 1500 octets. This may be set higher manually or by DHCP, or lower (never higher) by Router Advertisement. The minimum allowed MTU is 1280 octets (may have been revised later to 540 octets); links incapable of this MTU must provide link-level fragmentation that IPv6 does not see.
Neighbor discovery refers to the process by which a node discovers:
When an interface comes up, the host may ask routers to advertise themselves immediately.
Routers send this information in response to Router Solicitations, and they broadcast it periodically, sending it to the link scope all-nodes multicast group.
A node requests the MAC address of a neighbor (or detects a duplicate address or a dead neighbor). This has the same function as ARP in IPv4 but is part of IPv6, not a separate protocol. The Solicited Node Multicast Address is used, and since this is derived from the (known) unicast address which is [supposed to be] normally derived from the (unknown) MAC address, it will almost always be unique on the link.
The neighbor responds to Neighbor Solicitation.
A router, having received a packet that it will have to forward to a different router on the same link, sends this message to tell the sender to send further packets directly.
IPv6 is designed to minimize manual configuration of addresses on hosts. A host can determine its own address(es) and participate in the complete IPv6 protocol using only local information (MAC address) and router advertisements. In sites with only one link segment and no connection to the global internet, hosts can connect to each other with no servers or routers at all.
Each host creates the following addresses (subject to duplicate address checks). Most are obtained by joining a 64-bit prefix to a 64-bit Interface Identifier (see RFC 2464 for how this is generated from the MAC address).
Prefix is fe80::/64.
The host sends a Router Solicitation and receives a Router Advertisement, which may list prefix(es) suitable for stateless addressing. Each of these (usually just one) is prefixed to the Interface Identifier.
The DHCP server can send a fixed address based on a host identifier, or can allocate an aleatory address from a pool. The Router Advertisement has a flag that can suppress DHCP configuration (on links that have no DHCP server), but in the absence of Router Advertisements the host should attempt DHCP.
NAT on Linux requires helper modules for non-simple protocols. It appears that the following protocols (IPv4) have helpers in the mainline kernel, as of 2.6.22 in OpenSuSE 10.3. Other protocols may be supported by modules that are available separately.
Here is the
URL of the
official IPv6 support list.
In this post, a commenter gives pointers about getaddrinfo which can automatically select between IPv4 and IPv6 addresses according to which are available and which ones the particular client host can deal with. Existing IPv4 applications are not able to support IPv6, but getaddrinfo is nearly a drop-in replacement for gethostbyname.
Here is a list of supported programs that are used at Mathnet. Programs irrelevant at Mathnet are omitted. Recently upgraded programs may not have made it onto the list.
(Can play from an IPv6 URL)