Saturday, September 19, 2009

IPv6 theory

The linked video introduces IPv6 theory. IPv6 is the 128-bit address replacement for IPv4. The Internet is expected to run out of it's 4-billion IPv4 addresses in 2012. IPv6 will replace IPv4 at the network-layer of the OSI stack. By replacing one layer in the stack, most applications and most layer-2 network devices will continue to function.

IPv6 includes several technical improvements over IPv4. IPv6 uses optional extension headers, so only packets requiring special options will have those headers. As a result most IPv6 packets will have simpler headers than their IPv4 counterparts. IPv6 eliminates broadcast, and instead uses multicast for most neighbor discovery functions. This is more efficient CPU-wise because hosts only need to subscribe to the multicast groups they require. IPv6 hosts use stateless autoconfiguration to acquire link-local and internet routable IPv6 addresses. In many cases this can eliminate the need for a separate DHCP server. And of course IPv6 includes 128-bit addresses, allowing 256 billion billion billion billion hosts.

The migration from IPv4 to IPv6 will be the highlight and most significant change of our networking careers. Most of us were not in this business during the IPv3 to IPv4 migration on January 1st 1983 (a 'flag day' migration). Odds are IPv6 will remain the dominant internet protocol until after we retire.

A PDF version of my presentation will be attached to the comments section.

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