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Requirements for IPv6 in ICT equipment

Greg Ferro reached an interesting conclusion after going through my Content over IPv6 presentation: we won’t see IPv6 for a few years, so why bother. Although I disagree with his approach, he may be right ... but if you decide to ignore IPv6, you might be forced to implement it in a hurry, at which point you’ll be stuck if your equipment won’t support IPv6. The very minimum you need to do today is to buy IPv6-ready gear (and yell at the vendors if they try to charge extra for IPv6 support).

Many network engineers are not deeply familiar with IPv6 and the vendors might get evasive (or overly reassuring, which is always a bad sign) when you want the gear to be IPv6-ready. How do you know that you’ll get what you’ll need in the future? Here’s how we’ve approached that problem.

More than a year ago, we had a representative of Slovenian government sitting at the roundtable during the 2nd Slovenian IPv6 summit. We told him that the government should promote IPv6 deployment and that the very first step should be to require IPv6 readiness in all public tenders. The next obvious challenge: what exactly should be required? IPv6 Ready Logo is one possible answer, but it does not include routing protocol tests or Service Provider technologies like MPLS, 6PE or 6vPE.

We decided to accept the challenge, created an IPv6 technical working group within the go6 initiative and created the initial document. Another IPv6 summit, another roundtable, a lot of editing and polishing and we had the final document, which Jan Žorž submitted to RIPE. Numerous reviews and amendments followed (example: IPv6 Ready program became an explicit option mentioned in the document) and after two last-call rounds we had the RIPE-approved version of IPv6 requirements for routers, switches and firewalls, published as ripe-501 (the first RIPE-published document created in Slovenia).

If you want to ensure the equipment you buy today will support IPv6 in the future, you might find the ripe-501 document useful (it goes beyond purely technical topics to address things like system integrator skills requirements); if you’re looking for design/configuration guidelines, check out my Building IPv6 Service Provider Core webinar.


  1. This is a really useful document - I'm sure many of us have been caught out by vendors who claim IPv6 support but on further investigation have many feature gaps. My only criticism - I can't find any mention of DHCPv6 relay? I guess it's covered by DHCPv6 client / server [RFC3315] but it seems like it might be useful to separate out as an entry of its own. In an enterprise environment relay to central servers is likely to be far more valuable than a server on the router.
  2. Relaying is part of RFC 3315. Thanks for the feedback - if we ever get to v2, I'll make sure to have it explicitly spelled out. Anything else?
  3. I would advocate that people start deploying IPv6 today. However, the business reality is that the "problem" can be delayed for another year or two and that is what will they will do.

    With the economic recession continuing, IPv6 is not a pressing issue right now. And virtualisation is getting all the oxygen in IT marketing right now.
  4. Hey,

    In January we will start working on 2nd version of that document. We also got Merike Kaeo aboard, so I suspect next version to be even more precise and useful. I suggest you subscribe to RIPE IPv6 WG mailinglist, as there will be much discussion on this (I presume), as we try to build this document on a solid consesus from RIPE technical community.

    BTW, glad to hear you find the doc useful :)

    thnx, /jan
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