The University has begun enabling support for Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), which is one of two versions of the Internet Protocol that is used to carry Internet traffic. Every device that is connected to a network and uses the Internet Protocol for communication acquires a unique number known as an IP address.
The number of available IPv4 addresses will soon be exhausted. In many parts of the world, they have already been exhausted.
IPv6 solves the shortage of IP addresses. The length of an IPv6 address is 128 bits (allowing for approximately 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses) compared to 32 bits in IPv4 (allowing for about 4.3 billion unique addresses).
Most Internet traffic today uses IPv4. However, IPv6 Internet traffic is growing rapidly. All key components of the University network infrastructure support both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does IPv6 mean to me?
IPv6 has a number of features of interest to IT professionals, including new extension headers and new ICMP (v6) message types. For the majority of users, there is no measurable performance advantage between connecting to web sites and other Internet resources using IPv4 versus IPv6. However, in the years to come, the exhaustion of available IPv4 address space will mean that some sites and systems on the Internet will only be accessible by using IPv6. IPv6-enabled systems on the University network will have no problems communicating with these sites.
How do I know if IPv6 is enabled on my computer?
Most major PC and mobile/tablet operating systems support IPv6 by default, and many will prefer to use IPv6 when it is available. You can see if your device has IPv6 enabled by going to the web site test-ipv6.com, which runs a quick check and reports whether or not your system is using IPv6.
How can I tell if PittNet has IPv6 transport available to my machine?
The IPv6 test report that you will receive by going to http://test-ipv6.com will tell you whether or not your system is connected to a PittNet virtual local area network (VLAN) that supports IPv6.
VLANs are allocations of network address space that have been configured to support a related-group of machines, such as a PCs in a department office or a lab. Your department’s system administrator should be able to tell you if your network connection is on an IPv6-enabled VLAN.
Note: all of Wireless-PittNet supports IPv6.
How do I enable or disable IPv6 on my computer?
Some devices and operating systems might not have IPv6 enabled by default. Refer to the Enabling and Disabling IPv6 page for instructions that explain how to turn on and turn off IPv6 on your device.
Will Pitt be turning off IPv4?
There are no plans to turn off IPv4 at this time. IPv4 will be continue to be supported on the University’s network for some time.
Does CSSD support translation between IPv4 and IPv6?
No. CSSD currently supports IPv6 in the dual stack host method. This means that end nodes must be IPv4 and/or IPv6 natively.
Additional Technical Details
IPv6 at Pitt (PowerPoint Presentation)
IPv6 in Workstation and Server Zones
All address allocations for workstation zones will be dynamic via DHCP version 6 (DHCPv6) with DDNS proxy via DHCPv6. This means that you will not contact the Technology Help Desk to request an IPv6 name or address in a workstation zone. Instead, it will automatically be assigned for machines that request one. The name you request in your DHCPv6 request will be granted in the default zone on that subnet, if available. If it is not available, another name from a CSSD template will be assigned.
For the time being, Computing Services and Systems Development will only support static names and static IPv6 addresses in a similar mechanism to how IPv4 names and addresses are allocated now. This practice will help ensure that servers have consistent names, which is important for those who are trying to connect to them. It is up to the user whether the machine has the same name for IPv4 and IPv6 resolution. If you would like the machine to have the same name for IPv4 and IPv6 resolution, you must validate that your applications work with IPv6 transport.
Bringing Up IPv6 on a Server
IPv6 was made to be “downward compatible” with IPv4. This means that if you have an application that is using an IPv4 transport, it should also work on an IPv6 transport. However, there are scenarios that can complicate this. For example, you may have IPv4 ACLs or you may have IPv4 references inside the app that are being done by IP address. For these reasons, it is important to thoroughly test IPv6 when implementing it on servers.
Bringing up IPv6 on a server involves the following steps and testing procedures:
- Request an IPv6 address from the Technology Help Desk. If this is the first machine on the subnet that is requesting IPv6, then a /64 prefix will be assigned to the subnet.
- Disable IPv6 on all machines on the subnet except for those servers and applications that have already been validated for IPv6 and the machine you are testing with IPv6
- We will assign a temporary FQDN for the machine you are testing.
- You should conduct your application testing with IPv6.
- After testing has been completed, we can ensure the AAAA record and the A record resolve to the same FQDN, if that is your preference.