At home with IPv6

I have been experimenting with IPv6 in my home network, just for fun.

I used this page to help me select an IPv6 address range which should not collide with anyone else’s IPv6 address range. Of course this is entirely academic as my ISP does not support IPv6 at this time, and when they do it is reasonably likely that they will expect me to use a prefix they assign.

My initial observations are:

  • It’s faster; by about 3% for a crude bulk-transfer test over WiFi.
  • It’s tedious to set up; OS X Lion doesn’t include a DHCPv6 client so you’re stuck statically entering addresses. you need to configure and run RADVD to instruct OS X Lion to query DHCPv6.
  • DHCPv6 is a pain to use compared to DHCP; you cannot any longer give addresses based on the MAC address of the asker. Instead you use the DHCPv6 DUID, and the only way I am aware of to find that is to issue a dynamic address to a machine and then copy the DUID from the leases file.
  • IPv6 not that widely supported; I can’t even enter static addresses on my iOS and Android devices.
  • Configuring forward-DNS for IPv6 is easy; you use the conventional address notation including the :: shortcut so your addresses are compact, e.g. 2001:db8::1.
  • Configuring reverse-DNS is a pain in the arse, even more so than for IPv4; you have to explicitly enumerate every nibble of the address and separate them by dots, e.g.

A surprising amount of my internal traffic is now IPv6: browsers on my OS X Lion machines are connecting to my squid proxy server over IPv6 and this is then connecting out to websites using IPv4. SSH connections from OS X to my Linux server also prefer IPv6.

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