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Prep for Tomorrow with an IPv6 Testbed

On the Horizon...

  • October 21, 2004
  • By Carla Schroder

Yes, friends, I am afraid you do have to start paying attention to IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6). It's on its way, it's inevitable, and us ace network admins must learn to use it.

At this point, at least in the United States, it's a novelty along the the lines of the talking dog. It's not that it talks well, but that it talks at all; in other words, implementation here is very limited. IPv6 is not an extension to IPv4, but a whole new protocol. So the transition to IPv6 means building devices, like network cards, phones, and routers, that support both, and running them side-by-side as the entire freakin' Internet makes the changeover. And it means updating all manner of software. Some say it will take 10-20 years.

Doubtless there will be lonely hermits lodged in mountain caves who will hold on to IPv4 to the bitter end. But much of the world is pressing for fast adoption. Japan is the leader in implementation, with China, most of Europe, and India not far behind. They are especially motivated because the United States hogs--I mean "has been allocated the largest share of"--IPv4 addresses, so they are already facing shortages.

IPv6 offers more than just a larger addressing space. It also features a number of significant improvements, such as standardized QoS (Quality of Service), built-in security, speed, and simplified routing tables. For more background information, please visit the links in Resources. In this article we will look at getting connected to an IPv6 backbone via an IPv6-over-IPv4 tunnel, and setting up a local subnet to play with.

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