Archive for October, 2007

IPv6 Testing

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

It is frequently hard to identify what kinds of testing one must take and how much testing is enough. In the case of IPv6, one must consider a number of things.

First look at where IPv6 is being deployed in the network and identify what features are likely to be utilized in the segment of the network that IPv6 is being deployed in. For example, testing DHCPv6 or stateless address auto configuration may be critical for deployment on the campus level, but is not important for the backbone network. If the deployment is backbone based, focus on items important to the backbone.

Evaluate the devices in the network and test those devices which are the most common and the most significant for the highest number of network users. If 50% of the network routers are one specific model, this model should certainly be high on the list of devices to be tested. This specific router’s performance has a significant impact on the performance of the network.

If one specific area being tested appears problematic on a number of devices, consider testing all devices which could be impacted by failures in this area. Adapt testing strategies based on what is found in earlier testing.

Understand why specific test cases must be completed. If one can not state why a specific test case should be tested, this test case should be reconsidered.

IPv6 deployment will occur as a whisper, not as a bang

Monday, October 8th, 2007

IPv6 is the next generation Internet Protocol which is rapidly becoming this generation’s Internet Protocol.

IPv6 isn’t officially deployed in many places. However, unofficially it is deployed in most of today’s network environments.

At the command prompt of practically every current Linux, UNIX (including MacOS 10.4) and Windows (Vista) operating system, try the following in almost any office network and prepare to be surprised: ping “ff02::1” or “ping6 ff02::1.” Every IPv6-enabled network device in the office network will respond to this ping unless explicitly blocked by the network administrator (As defined by IETF RFC4291, ff02::1 is the IPv6 all nodes IPv6 address, which all nodes must respond to).

Although the network administrator may know nothing about IPv6, IPv6 is pervasive in most office networks.

Much of the controversy regarding IPv6 is a matter of policy. Meanwhile operating system designers have been silently enabling IPv6 by default. IPv6 is becoming an effective network protocol within Ethernet “broadcast” domains, even if network administrators haven’t configured its use across Ethernet domains and campus networks.

Because there is little fundamental difference between IPv4 and IPv6, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 could occur as a whisper, not as a bang. Gradually network administrators will learn how to use IPv6 in their networks and will find transitioning to IPv6 less difficult or problematic as they originally feared.

IPv6 is not fully cooked. But neither is IPv4. Within 3-5 years it will be apparent that IPv4 can no longer support the needs of the global Internet community. It will also be apparent that a wholesale replacement to the Internet Protocol will take decades to design and implement. IPv6 will be the only viable protocol to support the ballooning global network infrastructure. IPv6 must happen.