Network Basics: Integration of IPv6 with IPv4 - dummies

Network Basics: Integration of IPv6 with IPv4

By Edward Tetz

Because the entire world is currently running IPv4, one of the big questions is how to move people over to IPv6. It is not like they can just announce that on January 1 the Internet will use only IPv6. That just would not work.

So instead, a way to slowly migrate people to the new addressing scheme while allowing them to keep everything that they currently have in place has been developed. To that goal, there are three basic methods of compatibility:

  • Dual-stack: In dual-stack configuration, the device is configured for both IPv4 and IPv6 network stacks. The dual-stack configuration can be implemented on a single interface or with multiple interfaces. In this configuration, the device decides how to send the traffic based on the destination address of the other device.

    As of IOS 12.2(2), Cisco is IPv6-ready. To support dual-stack routing on a single interface, you need to configure IPv6 on your routing device. The following commands allow for forwarding of IPv6 data packets:


    Router1> enable
    Router1# configure terminal
    Router1(config)# ipv6 unicast-routing
    Router1(config)# interface ethernet0
    Router1(config-if)# ip address
    Router1(config-if)# ipv6 address 2123:AFFF::192:168:75:1/120
    Router1(config-if)# exit
    Router1(config)# exit
    Router1# copy running-config startup-config
  • Tunneling: Tunneling refers to passing IPv6 data over an IPv4 network by placing the IPv6 packet into the data section of an IPv4 packet, as shown in Figure 4-2. The four main types of tunneling are

    • Manual IPv6-to-IPv4 tunneling encapsulates an IPv6 packet in an IPv4 packet. So as to not fragment the packet from adding the IPv4 header to it, the data packet needs to be reduced by 20 bytes if the IPv4 has an optional protocol field, or 20 octets if it does not, as well as require routers support both IP stacks.

    • Dynamic 6to4 tunneling routes data between islands of IPv6 routers across your network.

    • Intra-Site Automatic Tunnel Addressing Protocol (ISATAP) tunneling uses the existing IPv4 network as the link layer of the IPv6 network and routes the data between the IP networks via routers supporting both IP stacks.

    • Teredo tunneling performs the tunneling work at the dual-stacked host on either end of the connection rather than at a gateway router.


  • Proxying and translation (NAT-PT): Network Address Translation-Protocol Translation (NAT-PT) places a translation mechanism on the network, which translates traffic going back and forth between IPv4 and IPv6.

With these methods available to companies, ISPs, and users, the path to migrate your network to IPv6 does not need to be long or difficult.