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Category: service providers

Ensuring multi-tenant security in cloud services

One of the interesting problems I was facing in the recent weeks was multi-tenant security. Combine it with fuzzy all-encompassing vapor-based terminology and you have a perfect mix that can fit anything you want to sell. In the Ensuring multi-tenant security in cloud services I wrote for SearchTelecom.com I tried to structure the cloudy visions a bit: let’s figure out which type of service we’re talking about, then we can discuss what security mechanisms make sense.

As you might expect, I find IaaS the most challenging as you’re bound to hit a number of roadblocks, from VLAN limitations to architectural limitations of virtual security appliances.

Read more @ SearchTelecom ...

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Framed-IPv6-Prefix used as delegated DHCPv6 prefix

Chris Pollock from io Networks was kind enough to share yet another method of implementing DHCPv6 prefix delegation on PPP interfaces in his comment to my DHCPv6-RADIUS integration: the Cisco way blog post: if you tell the router not to use the Framed-IPv6-Prefix passed from RADIUS in the list of prefixes advertised in RA messages with the no ipv6 nd prefix framed-ipv6-prefix interface configuration command, the router uses the prefix sent from the RADIUS server as delegated prefix.

This setup works reliably in IOS release 15.0M. 12.2SRE3 (running on a 7206) includes the framed-IPv6-prefix in RA advertisements and DHCPv6 IA_PD reply, totally confusing the CPE.

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Delegated IPv6 prefixes – RADIUS configuration

In the Building Large IPv6 Service Provider Networks webinar I described how Cisco IOS uses two RADIUS requests to authenticate an IPv6 user (request#1) and get the delegated prefix (request#2). The second request is sent with a modified username (-dhcpv6 is appended to the original username) and an empty password (the fact that is conveniently glossed over in all Cisco documentation I found).

FreeRADIUS server is smart enough to bark at an empty password, to force the RADIUS server to accept a username with no password you have to use Auth-Type := Accept:

Site-A-dhcpv6   Auth-Type := Accept
cisco-avpair = "ipv6:prefix#1=fec0:1:2400:1100::/56"
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IPv6CP+DHCPv6+SLAAC+RA = IPCP

Last week I got an interesting tweet: “Hey @ioshints can you tell me what is the radius parameter to send ipv6 dns servers at pppoe negotiation?” It turned out that the writer wanted to propagate IPv6 DNS server address with IPv6CP, which doesn’t work. Contrary to IPCP, IPv6CP provides just the bare acknowledgement that the two nodes are willing to use IPv6. All other parameters have to be negotiated with DHCPv6 or ICMPv6 (RA/SLAAC).

The following table compares the capabilities of IPCP with those offered by a combination of DHCPv6, SLAAC and RA (IPv6CP is totally useless as a host parameter negotiation tool):

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PPPoE Testbed

During my last Building IPv6 Service Provider Core webinar I got a lot of questions about IPv6 over PPPoE (obviously we’re close to widespread IPv6 implementation; I never got PPPoE questions before). I wanted to test various scenarios in my IPv6 lab and thus enabled PPPoE on an Ethernet link between CE and PE routers.

This time I wanted to test multiple configurations in parallel ... no problem thanks versatile PPPoE implementation in Cisco.

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IPv6 SP Core webinar: router configurations

The attendees of my Building IPv6 Service Provider Core webinar get several sets of complete router configurations for a six router lab that emulates a typical Service Provider network with a residential customer and an enterprise BGP customer. The configurations can be used on any hardware (real or otherwise) supporting recent Cisco IOS software, allowing you to test and modify the design scenarios discussed in the webinar.

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Deploying IPv6 article @ SearchTelecom

Following my Transition to IPv6” articles, Jessica Scarpati from SearchTelecom.com wrote a series of articles covering the telecom transition plans and the problems they’re experiencing with the vendors and content providers.

In the second article of the series, “Deploying IPv6? Demand responsiveness from vendors, content providers”, she’s quoting John Jason Brzozowski from Comcast, John Curran from ARIN, Matt Sewell from Global Crossing and myself. My key message: vote with your money and take your business elsewhere if the vendors don’t get their act together.

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P2P Traffic and the Internet, Part 2

As expected, my P2P traffic is bad for the network post generated lots of comments; from earning me another wonderful title (shill for Internet monopolies) that I’ll proudly add to my previous awards to numerous technical comments and even a link to a very creative use of BitTorrent to solve software distribution problems (thanks again, @packetlife).

Most of the commentators missed the main point of my post and somehow assumed that since I don’t wholeheartedly embrace P2P traffic I want to ban it from the Internet. Far from it, what I was trying to get across was a very simple message:

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P2P Traffic Is Bad for the Network

I’m positive you all know that. I also hope that you’re making sure it’s not hogging your enterprise network. Service Providers are not so fortunate – some Internet users claim using unlimited amounts of P2P traffic is their birthright. I don’t really care what kind of content these users transfer, they are consuming enormous amounts of network resources due to a combination of P2P client behavior (which is clearly “optimized” to grab as much as possible) and the default TCP/QoS interaction.

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NAT444, DS-Lite, A+P and NAT64 explained

One of the biggest hurdles Internet Service Providers will face in the near future is access to legacy IPv4 content once we run out of globally routable IPv4 addresses. Although it’s easy to offer your content over IPv6 (assuming you have a properly designed network using load balancers from a company that understands the need for IPv6 in Data Center), a lot of the “long tail” content will remain reachable only over IPv4.

A while ago I’ve published a presentation I’d delivered at the Slovenian IPv6 summit; a few days ago SearchTelecom.com has published my article describing various transition solutions in more details. In the first part, “IPv4 address exhaustion: Making the IPv6 transition work”, I’m describing the grim facts we’re facing and the NAT-PT fiasco. In the second part, “Comparing IPv6 to IPv4 address translation solutions”, you’ll find brief descriptions of LSN (also known as CGN – Carrier-Grade NAT), NAT444, DS-Lite, A+P and NAT64.

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The need for Internet data caps

A few days ago my friend Greg (also known as @etherealmind) wrote an interesting tweet (probably prompted by the change in AT&T data plans):

If a data cap doesn't affect 97% of users, why bother implementing it at all? Surely the 3% can be that significant?

A few of us immediately responded that the 3% could represent 80 (my guess) to 97% (@icemarkom) of the traffic. As I’m tracking my home Internet connection with MRTG for over a year, I was also able to get some hard facts (although the sample size is admittedly very small). We’re pretty heavy internet users (no limits on what my teenage kids are doing and I’m mostly working from home), but the average yearly utilization of my 20 Mbps pipe is only 180 Kbps or less than 1% of its capacity (still, over a year, that’s almost 700 GB of data or 350 months of AT&T’s DataPro plan).

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Multi-topology IS-IS

IS-IS has “forever” (at least since RFC 1195) supported multiple layer-3 protocol, but always with a nasty side-effect: if a link in your network did not support one of them, you could get hard-to-diagnose black holes. The problem is illustrated in the left-hand column of the following diagram. Due to a single IS-IS topology, the shortest path between A and B is the direct link and since IPv6 is not enabled on that link (click on the diagram to get an enlarged version where you'll be able to see the link colors), A and B cannot exchange IPv6 traffic even though there’s an alternate path between them.

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CGv6 – how real is it?

Last November I was delighted to read the announcement describing how a module in CRS-1 was going to support CGN, NAT444, NAT64 and DS-Lite. It looked like a major vendor has finally decided it’s time to solve the IPv4-to-IPv6 transition problem.

However, I was not able to find anything beyond a few fancy videos, a white paper and a brochure. Can anyone shed more light on CGv6? Have you seen it running outside of PowerPoint? When can an IPv6-embracing Service Provider expect to see it on an ASR 1000?

And before you ask ... no, CGv6 is not described in my webinars; I only talk about features (not futures) that I was able to get my hands on.

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Passive Optical Networks

When I’ve first heard about Passive Optical Networks, this blast from the past almost made my head explode. Imagine this: you’re replacing obsolete copper cabling with fiber and decide to create shared media access network similar to the widely hated cable networks.

The only benefit of PON networks that I can see is that it only needs passive equipment at the concentration point. My list of drawbacks is huge, ranging from security concerns to service evolution. What’s your opinion? Would you like to correct my bearing?

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