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IPv6: First steps and experiences

October 21, 2012 - 7:21 pm

I’ve read and heard a lot about IPv6 in the last months, but wasn’t able to gain some practical experience yet.

No I finally found some time to get my hands on a simple IPv6 setup at home. Rather late for me as a network guy but actually I did it.
I’m running a Debian based router, which was routing my IPv4 for quite a long time. My goal was to add IPv6 routing so that my clients are able to use the “IPv6 internet”.

The setup was really easy. My main documentation sources were the Linux IPv6 HOWTO and an IPv6 with Debian tutorial.

  1. Since I didn’t want to start a fight with my provider about why I should get IPv6, I requested a tunnel from SixXS.
  2. To establish a SixXS tunnel, the AICCU toos is neede, which I could obtaine from the default Debian package repositories.
  3. I configured a bit of routing and firewalling. The ipv6tables tool works almost exactly the same as iptables for IPv4.
  4. Finally I Installed and configured the Linux IPv6 Router Advertisement Daemon radvd.

Experiences

After performing the steps above IPv6 worked out-of-the-box on my Mac OS X (Snow) Leopard, Android, Linux Mint and Windows 7 Clients.
For some reason the Firefox browser shipped with Linux Mint has IPv6 disabled by default.
On Windows XP I  had to manually install the IPv6 protocol driver, but after that things were working as expected (without reboot).

The bad news is: On Mac OS X and Android privacy extensions were disabled by default.
Unfortunately this problem is not really obvious, and enabling is not practical for the average user.
For Mac OS X I just found a tool that claims to realize this for me (haven’t tried it – modified the configuration file by hand).
Android users do not have a chance without rooting the Phone.

Conclution

IPv6 is fun!
I didn’t expect such an easy setup. Debian is definitely ready for IPv6 routing, documentation is rather good and all current operating systems come with native support for IPv6.

I can only encourage you to invest a small amount of time into the first steps into the future of your network.

Do you have IPv6?

There are some simple methods to check if you are running a working IPv6 setup:

  1. Ping localhost ping6 ::1
    If your network subsystems answers, IPv6 is enabled and working on your system.
  2. Ping Google, Heise, SixXS, … ping6 www.google.com
    This exchanges some packets with hosts in the internet. If you get answers your routing setup is working and you can access the “IPv6 Internet”.
  3. Open up your browser and surf to www.kame.net
    If you see a dancing turtle, your browser supports IPv6 as well

Of course you can use ifconfig / ipconfig tools to check your IPv6 configuration and addresses.

To get some more information about your IPv6 Address, go to www.sixxs.net. They show your address and upon clicking it you get some more details.
Note: If this shows the real MAC-Address of your network adapter, you should enable IPv6 privacy extensions.

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