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IPv4 to IPv6 Transition With the Dual-Stack Technique

The IPv4 addressing scheme uses a 32-bit address, which provides for over 4 billion possible addresses. You would think this, along with Network Address Translation (NAT) and class networks networks (A, B, C) would be enough addresses. Unfortunately with the advent of held-held internet connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), we are facing IPv4 address exhaustion. To solve this problem, on June 6, 2012 the Internet Engineering Task Force released RFC 2460 - Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).

Among other improvements, IPv6 has increased the address size to 128 bits, which provides for over 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses. Eventually, all networks will use IPv6, unfortunately, transition progress has been slow. That's because it's costing a huge amount of money and effort to enable both protocols to operate simultaneously and to convert legacy systems.

To operate the Internet, the Domain Name System (DNS), has been modified to map IPv4 addresses to IPv6 addresses. For reverse resolution, the IETF reserved the top-level domain ip6.arpa for the reverse DNS database, where the scheme is defined in RFC 3596. For the typical business organization's local network, there are several techniques to deal with the conversion.

Assuming that you can't immediately convert all your network hardware to IPv6, you can use address translation or tunneling techniques, but the dual-stack technique allows the easiest operation of IPv4 and IPv6 devices on the same network. The dual-stack technique has been used in the past to allow IPX or AppleTalk devices to work with IPv4 devices on the same network. To use the dual-stack technique, a dual-stack router or dual-stack server is required.

Dual-stack router

In the diagram shown above, a server is configured for both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. A dual-stack router is configured with an IPv4 interface pointing to the network with IPv4 devices, and an IPv6 interface pointing to the network with IPv6 devices. Having both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses configured it can communicate with all hosts on both the IPv4 network and the IPv6 network.

The IPv4 network and the IPv6 network run independently, each with its own firewall, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) mechanism, servers, switches, hosts, and other network devices. The dual-stack technique enables transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 environments without the requirement for tunneling or address translation within the network.

More Networking Protocols and Standards:
• IEEE 802 Standards Specify the Basics of Physical and Logical Networking
• Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP)
• T-Carrier
• IPv6 Address Format
• What Are Private IP Addresses?
• IP Addressing and Subnetting
• The OSI Application Layer
• IPv6 Packet Fragmentation
• The OSI Physical Layer
• IPv6 Flow Label Field

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