IPv6 Introduction

The Internet is running out of IP addresses. To resolve this problem, a relatively new technology is being deployed to give us more addresses. This technology is IPv6 and is completely integrated into Windows Server 2008 R2.

You might wonder why there is need for more address space when good old IPv4 provides somewhere in the range of four billion addresses. Unfortunately, there are over 6 billion people on the planet and, thus, not enough IP addresses for each and every person. In this age of ever-advancing technologies and Internet-enabled devices, it isn’t uncommon for a single individual to utilize more than one IP address. For example, an individual might have an Internet connection at home, a workstation in the office, an Internet-enabled phone, and a laptop to use in a cafe. This problem will only become more exacerbated as devices such as refrigerators and coffeemakers become part of the wired world.

IPv6, Internet Protocol Version 6, not only brings a number of new features such as integrated IPSec, QoS, stateless configuration, and so on, but, more important, it will also provide over 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique addresses that’s 3.4 x 1038!

IPv6 provides a number of new features over IPv4: vastly improved address space, improved network headers, native support for auto address configuration, and integrated support for IPSec and QoS.

Windows Server 2008 R2’s networking advances are mostly due to the new TCP/IP stack introduced with IPv6 in Windows Server 2008. Highlighted in the following list are a few of the features that are included with Windows Server 2008 R2, derived from the new TCP/IP stack:

» Dual IP layer architecture for IPv6—Windows 2003 required a separate protocol to be installed to enable IPv6 support; whereas in Windows Server 2008 R2, IPv6 is enabled and supported by default. Windows Server 2008 R2 supports the new stack that integrates IPv4 and IPv6, leveraging the fact that IPv4 and IPv6 share common layers (transport and framing).

» Windows Filtering Platform—All layers of the TCP/IP stack can be filtered, enabling Windows Filtering Platform to be more secure, stack integration.

» Protocol stack off-load—By off-loading TCP and/or other protocols to the Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) miniport and/or network interface adapters, performance improvements can occur on traffic-intensive servers.

» Restart-less configuration changes—Leveraging the new TCP/IP stack’s ability to retain configuration settings, server restarts to enable configuration changes are no longer necessary.

In the United States, IPv6 is quietly making its way into the mainstream by starting at the edge. Broadband providers in California such as Comcast have already implemented IPv6 for their customers. Countries like China with their recent implementations have opted to move to IPv6 as a default.

From an implementation perspective, Microsoft Internet Acceleration Server (ISA) 2006 does not support IPv6. As a matter of fact, installing the IPv6 protocol stack on an ISA 2006 server is a security risk as it exposes the server directly to the Internet. This has made it difficult for many organizations to start deploying IPv6 in a meaningful way.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed (2010)

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