Mountain Lion: IPv6: Why and is it Needed?

What is IPv6?

IPv6 is the next generation Internet Protocol address standard that will first supplement but eventually replace, the current IPv4 protocol.
The implementation of IPv6 is urgent as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) pool for available IPv4 addresses is exhausted.

What happen to IPv5?

IPv5 was an streaming audio/video protocol named “Internet Streaming Protocol” (ST and later ST-II) that started in 1979. It was created by a group of engineers to transmit video, audio, and simulations over the Internet, it gained some following from IBM, Apple, and Sun, but never really taken off.

Do we need IPv6?

IPv6 increases the address size from 32 bits to 128. This is more than enough for every person to have a private network bigger than the current Internet. Even if everything you own had its own IPv6 address, then you would still not be using more than a fraction of the address space.
There will be enough addresses so every country or major network can be assigned a large range. It can then assign subranges within that to networks that it connects to, and so on. This hierarchical assignment (in theory, at least) simplifies routing decisions.

The Future is IPv6

When IPv6 becomes common place, we’ll probably see new firewalls that allow more in depth blocking of services and devices. The increase of address space also makes it possible to have separate subnetworks, which will be helpful as more and more devices connect to the network.

And we still have a lot to look forward to:

  • The IETF is currently working on mobility and multihoming extensions to IPv6. Mobility means moving from one network to another while keeping the same IP address. So a VoIP call could start on your home network, continue over wireless service and then finish at work.
  • Multi-homing means connecting to more than one ISP at the same time, so that when one fails, communication sessions automatically move over to the other.

The benefits of IPv6 are: Increased addresses, reduced management, more efficient routing, better mobility support, multihoming and increased security.

1 Reply to "Mountain Lion: IPv6: Why and is it Needed?"

  • John Lockwood

    While Apple fully support IPv6 in their client operating system and have done so for years. Their support for IPv6 is almost non-existent in their Server software.

    OS X Server even in Mountain Lion has zero support for IPv6 in DHCP, it has almost no support for it in its DNS server unless you configure it manually, and I believe the VPN server is also unfriendly to IPv6.

    Apple Remote Desktop has just been updated to support IPv6 in both the client and admin side, and you can connect via AFP and SMB to a Mac server over IPv6.

    Considering public IPv4 addresses are officially exhausted and I believe no longer available in some regions, and that IPv6 has been available for years including all the usual open-source packages like BIND, etc., it is very disappointing.

    I would am highly dubious that Open Directory will work with just IPv6.

    This is not just an Enterprise issue (which Apple have consistently ignored) but is an issue that will affect all sizes of organisations and even home users.

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