Home / Blogs

IPv6 Floating on the Ethernet

Anything to be aware of on layer 2 when activating dual stack? IPv4 and IPv6 should after all peacefully and safely coexist on the same network as each version has a specific layer 2 ethernet type, 0x0800 for IPv4 while IPv6 responds to 0x86dd. The value of this field tells the node which layer 3 protocol follows in the ethernet frame. Is this new? Not really, this was defined in RFC 2464 in December 1998, more than a decade ago. The IEEE Ethernet Field Registrar issues and maintains the list of allocated Ethernet types. And 0x0800, the IPv4 ethernet type, result of the venerable RFC894, will be a quarter century old next month! This RFC defines a standard protocol for the ARPA—internet community (sic).

Remarkable how Ethernet has evolved and been widely adopted over this period extending its reach from LAN to MAN to WAN and from 10meg to 10gigE. One has to credit the IEEE for quite an efficient job as a standards body.

Over in the IP world, this month of March will see IETF 74 meet in San Francisco and continue to ponder transitions, address translations, double translations, even carrier grade translations. In the meantime the IPv4 pool has shrivelled to 32 /8’s in IANA’s free pool and in Manila last week the policy session at the APNIC meeting further looked at ways to cut the remaining IPv4 address pool in ever smaller pieces and even allocating them for shorter time frames to somehow delay the inevitable. The Regional Internet Registries now even have a mechanism to equitably share recovered, reclaimed and returned pieces of IPv4 address property. APNIC has even adopted a proposition on how to parcel out crumbs of the very last /8 they will get allocated.

A modern day Géricault might start painting the “Radeau du IPv4”. I felt reassured however by the growing number of IPv6 address allocations by RIR’s to local registries and ISP’s as we saw in the NRO update [PPT]. Let’s just start using them a bit faster and pity the poor souls who will be left on the IPv4 raft.

By Yves Poppe, Director, Business Development IP Strategy at Tata Communications

(Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these articles are solely those of the author and are not in any way attributable to nor reflect any existing or planned official policy or position of his employer in respect thereto.)

Visit Page

Filed Under


Comment Title:

  Notify me of follow-up comments

We encourage you to post comments and engage in discussions that advance this post through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can report it using the link at the end of each comment. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of CircleID. For more information on our comment policy, see Codes of Conduct.

CircleID Newsletter The Weekly Wrap

More and more professionals are choosing to publish critical posts on CircleID from all corners of the Internet industry. If you find it hard to keep up daily, consider subscribing to our weekly digest. We will provide you a convenient summary report once a week sent directly to your inbox. It's a quick and easy read.

I make a point of reading CircleID. There is no getting around the utility of knowing what thoughtful people are thinking and saying about our industry.

Co-designer of the TCP/IP Protocols & the Architecture of the Internet



New TLDs

Sponsored byRadix


Sponsored byVerisign

Brand Protection

Sponsored byCSC

Domain Names

Sponsored byVerisign

IPv4 Markets

Sponsored byIPv4.Global


Sponsored byDNIB.com

Threat Intelligence

Sponsored byWhoisXML API