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The core of the IPv6 protocol is defined by RFC 2460, RFC 4291, RFC 4861, RFC 4862, RFC 4443 and RFC 1981; however a whole slew of additional RFCs make up the working body of specifications for IPv6.

IPv4 has similar documents; some dating back to the early 80’s when TCP/IP was first proposed for the ArpaNet. RFC 791 and RFC 793 cover the core IP and TCP protocols respectfully.

http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/ -or- http://www.ietf.org/rfc.html Two complete collections of RFCs

IPv6 is designed to replace IPv4 and provides significant additional features. Address space expansion is nearly always the core focus of IPv6’s role in the Internet today; however it’s important to note that security, efficiency and the enabling of new applications are all important in the IPv6 world.

Who needs to know about IPv6?

Nearly everyone using the Internet today will be affected. Some more than others, some simply by allowing automatic software updates to provide their computing platform with the facilities needed to connect to an IPv6 enabled network.

  • If you are a system administrator or network engineer, you need to understand how to deploy and administer IPv6 on your existing equipment or figure out what hardware or software you need upgrade or install to support IPv6.

  • If you are a technical manager you need to ensure that your staff gains operational experience with IPv6 in order to support your organization and customers.

  • If you are in sales or marketing and your business depends on the Internet then you need to develop competitive strategies for how you will present your IPv6 capability when this becomes a market driver.

  • If you are in executive management (a CEO, COO, CFO or CIO) or are an investor in an Internet company, then you need to know about IPv6 from the risk management perspective of ensuring your organization has an IPv6 plan.

  • If you are an end user, you just need to look for IPv6 support when selecting network services, software, or hardware. It is everybody else's job to make sure you don't have to worry about the technical details of IPv6. ;)

What’s important to understand (as an end-user) is that the Internet core backbones, including backbones like Hurricane Electric’s, are the first place where IPv6 needs to be implemented. This is where Hurricane Electric has been focusing for the last seven years. Hurricane Electric took the initiative back in 2001 to start operating an IPv6 network. Like every other backbone at the time, IPv6 was just an adjunct to the day-to-day IPv4 operations.

Today Hurricane Electric is running a fully-functional dual-stack IPv4 and IPv6 enabled at every location within its network. Customers that use Hurricane Electric datacenters or Hurricane Electric IPv4 transit services can upgrade to a dual-stack IPv4 & IPv6 offering with ease.

Hurricane Electric has done its part, it’s now time to help you (the customer) do your part.

Aside from the technical features, why does anybody need to deploy IPv6?

IPv6 is being deployed to get unique globally routable IP addresses, for two reasons: IPv4 addresses are running out and there are networks with more devices than can be currently assigned unique globally routable addresses under IPv4.

See the following example (and then extrapolate for China and India):

IPv6 at Hurricane Electric © 2008 http://he.net/

Page 2 of 9 April 2008

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