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RFC 1933 - Transition Mechanisms for IPv6 Hosts and Routers


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Network Working Group                                        R. Gilligan
Request for Comments: 1933                                   E. Nordmark
Category: Standards Track                         Sun Microsystems, Inc.
                                                              April 1996

            Transition Mechanisms for IPv6 Hosts and Routers

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

   This document specifies IPv4 compatibility mechanisms that can be
   implemented by IPv6 hosts and routers.  These mechanisms include
   providing complete implementations of both versions of the Internet
   Protocol (IPv4 and IPv6), and tunneling IPv6 packets over IPv4
   routing infrastructures.  They are designed to allow IPv6 nodes to
   maintain complete compatibility with IPv4, which should greatly
   simplify the deployment of IPv6 in the Internet, and facilitate the
   eventual transition of the entire Internet to IPv6.

1. Introduction

   The key to a successful IPv6 transition is compatibility with the
   large installed base of IPv4 hosts and routers.  Maintaining
   compatibility with IPv4 while deploying IPv6 will streamline the task
   of transitioning the Internet to IPv6.  This specification defines a
   set of mechanisms that IPv6 hosts and routers may implement in order
   to be compatible with IPv4 hosts and routers.

   The mechanisms in this document are designed to be employed by IPv6
   hosts and routers that need to interoperate with IPv4 hosts and
   utilize IPv4 routing infrastructures.  We expect that most nodes in
   the Internet will need such compatibility for a long time to come,
   and perhaps even indefinitely.

   However, IPv6 may be used in some environments where interoperability
   with IPv4 is not required.  IPv6 nodes that are designed to be used
   in such environments need not use or even implement these mechanisms.

   The mechanisms specified here include:

   -    Dual IP layer.  Providing complete support for both IPv4 and
        IPv6 in hosts and routers.

   -    IPv6 over IPv4 tunneling.  Encapsulating IPv6 packets within
        IPv4 headers to carry them over IPv4 routing infrastructures.
        Two types of tunneling are employed: configured and automatic.

   Additional transition and compatibility mechanisms may be developed
   in the future.  These will be specified in other documents.

1.2. Terminology

   The following terms are used in this document:

   Types of Nodes

        IPv4-only node:

                A  host  or  router  that  implements  only  IPv4.    An
                IPv4-only  node does not understand IPv6.  The installed
                base of IPv4  hosts  and  routers  existing  before  the
                transition begins are IPv4-only nodes.

        IPv6/IPv4 node:

                A host or router that implements both IPv4 and IPv6.

        IPv6-only node:

                A host or router that implements IPv6, and does not
                implement IPv4.  The operation of IPv6-only nodes is not
                addressed here.

        IPv6 node:

                Any host or router that implements IPv6.  IPv6/IPv4 and
                IPv6-only nodes are both IPv6 nodes.

        IPv4 node:

                Any host or router that implements IPv4.  IPv6/IPv4 and
                IPv4-only nodes are both IPv4 nodes.

   Types of IPv6 Addresses

        IPv4-compatible IPv6 address:

                An IPv6 address, assigned to an IPv6/IPv4 node, which
                bears the high-order 96-bit prefix 0:0:0:0:0:0, and an
                IPv4 address in the low-order 32-bits.  IPv4-compatible
                addresses are used by the automatic tunneling mechanism.

        IPv6-only address:

                The remainder of the IPv6 address space.  An IPv6
                address that bears a prefix other than 0:0:0:0:0:0.

   Techniques Used in the Transition

        IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling:

                The technique of encapsulating IPv6 packets within IPv4
                so that they can be carried across IPv4 routing
                infrastructures.

        IPv6-in-IPv4 encapsulation:

                IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling.

        Configured tunneling:

                IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling where the IPv4 tunnel endpoint
                address is determined by configuration information on
                the encapsulating node.

        Automatic tunneling:

                IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling where the IPv4 tunnel endpoint
                address is determined from the IPv4 address embedded in
                the IPv4-compatible destination address of the IPv6
                packet.

1.3. Structure of this Document

   The remainder of this document is organized into three sections:

   -    Section 2 discusses the IPv4-compatible address format.

   -    Section 3 discusses the operation of nodes with a dual IP
        layer, IPv6/IPv4 nodes.

   -    Section 4 discusses IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling.

2. Addressing

   The automatic tunneling mechanism uses a special type of IPv6
   address, termed an "IPv4-compatible" address.  An IPv4-compatible
   address is identified by an all-zeros 96-bit prefix, and holds an
   IPv4 address in the low-order 32-bits.  IPv4-compatible addresses are
   structured as follows:

        |              96-bits                 |   32-bits    |
        +--------------------------------------+--------------+
        |            0:0:0:0:0:0               | IPv4 Address |
        +--------------------------------------+--------------+

                 IPv4-Compatible IPv6 Address Format

   IPv4-compatible addresses are assigned to IPv6/IPv4 nodes that
   support automatic tunneling.  Nodes that are configured with IPv4-
   compatible addresses may use the complete address as their IPv6
   address, and use the embedded IPv4 address as their IPv4 address.

   The remainder of the IPv6 address space (that is, all addresses with
   96-bit prefixes other than 0:0:0:0:0:0) are termed "IPv6-only
   Addresses."

3. Dual IP Layer

   The most straightforward way for IPv6 nodes to remain compatible with
   IPv4-only nodes is by providing a complete IPv4 implementation.  IPv6
   nodes that provide a complete IPv4 implementation in addition to
   their IPv6 implementation are called "IPv6/IPv4 nodes."  IPv6/IPv4
   nodes have the ability to send and receive both IPv4 and IPv6
   packets.  They can directly interoperate with IPv4 nodes using IPv4
   packets, and also directly interoperate with IPv6 nodes using IPv6
   packets.

   The dual IP layer technique may or may not be used in conjunction
   with the IPv6-over-IPv4 tunneling techniques, which are described in
   section 4.  An IPv6/IPv4 node that supports tunneling may support
   only configured tunneling, or both configured and automatic
   tunneling.  Thus three configurations are possible:

   -    IPv6/IPv4 node that does not perform tunneling.

   -    IPv6/IPv4 node that performs configured tunneling only.

   -    IPv6/IPv4 node that performs configured tunneling and

        automatic tunneling.

3.1. Address Configuration

   Because they support both protocols, IPv6/IPv4 nodes may be
   configured with both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.  Although the two
   addresses may be related to each other, this is not required.
   IPv6/IPv4 nodes may be configured with IPv6 and IPv4 addresses that
   are unrelated to each other.

   Nodes that perform automatic tunneling are configured with IPv4-
   compatible IPv6 addresses.  These may be viewed as single addresses
   that can serve both as IPv6 and IPv4 addresses.  The entire 128-bit
   IPv4-compatible IPv6 address is used as the node's IPv6 address,
   while the IPv4 address embedded in low-order 32-bits serves as the
   node's IPv4 address.

   IPv6/IPv4 nodes may use the stateless IPv6 address configuration
   mechanism [5] or DHCP for IPv6 [3] to acquire their IPv6 address.
   These mechanisms may provide either IPv4-compatible or IPv6-only IPv6
   addresses.

   IPv6/IPv4 nodes may use IPv4 mechanisms to acquire their IPv4
   addresses.

   IPv6/IPv4 nodes that perform automatic tunneling may also acquire
   their IPv4-compatible IPv6 addresses from another source: IPv4
   address configuration protocols.  A node may use any IPv4 address
   configuration mechanism to acquire its IPv4 address, then "map" that
   address into an IPv4-compatible IPv6 address by pre-pending it with
   the 96-bit prefix 0:0:0:0:0:0.  This mode of configuration allows
   IPv6/IPv4 nodes to "leverage" the installed base of IPv4 address
   configuration servers.  It can be particularly useful in environments
   where IPv6 routers and address configuration servers have not yet
   been deployed.

   The specific algorithm for acquiring an IPv4-compatible address using
   IPv4-based address configuration protocols is as follows:

   1)   The IPv6/IPv4 node uses standard IPv4 mechanisms or protocols
        to acquire its own IPv4 address.  These include:

           -    The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) [2]
           -    The Bootstrap Protocol (BOOTP) [1]
           -    The Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP) [9]
           -    Manual configuration
           -    Any other mechanism which accurately yields the node's
                own IPv4 address

   2)   The node uses this address as its IPv4 address.

   3)   The node prepends the 96-bit prefix 0:0:0:0:0:0 to the 32-bit
        IPv4 address that it acquired in step (1).  The result is an
        IPv4-compatible IPv6 address with the node's own IPv4-address
        embedded in the low-order 32-bits.  The node uses this address
        as its own IPv6 address.

3.1.1. IPv4 Loopback Address

   Many IPv4 implementations treat the address 127.0.0.1 as a "loopback
   address" -- an address to reach services located on the local
   machine.  Per the host requirements specification [10], section
   3.2.1.3, IPv4 packets addressed from or to the loopback address are
   not to be sent onto the network; they must remain entirely within the
   node.  IPv6/IPv4 implementations may treat the IPv4-compatible IPv6
   address ::127.0.0.1 as an IPv6 loopback address.  Packets with this
   address should also remain entirely within the node, and not be
   transmitted onto the network.

3.2.  DNS

   The Domain Naming System (DNS) is used in both IPv4 and IPv6 to map
   hostnames into addresses.  A new resource record type named "AAAA"
   has been defined for IPv6 addresses [6].  Since IPv6/IPv4 nodes must
   be able to interoperate directly with both IPv4 and IPv6 nodes, they
   must provide resolver libraries capable of dealing with IPv4 "A"
   records as well as IPv6 "AAAA" records.

3.2.1.  Handling Records for IPv4-Compatible Addresses

   When an IPv4-compatible IPv6 addresses is assigned to an IPv6/IPv4
   host that supports automatic tunneling, both A and AAAA records are
   listed in the DNS.  The AAAA record holds the full IPv4-compatible
   IPv6 address, while the A record holds the low-order 32-bits of that
   address.  The AAAA record is needed so that queries by IPv6 hosts can
   be satisfied.  The A record is needed so that queries by IPv4-only
   hosts, whose resolver libraries only support the A record type, will
   locate the host.

   DNS resolver libraries on IPv6/IPv4 nodes must be capable of handling
   both AAAA and A records.  However, when a query locates an AAAA
   record holding an IPv4-compatible IPv6 address, and an A record
   holding the corresponding IPv4 address, the resolver library need not
   necessarily return both addresses.  It has three options:

   -    Return only the IPv6 address to the application.

   -    Return only the IPv4 address to the application.

   -    Return both addresses to the application.

   The selection of which address type to return in this case, or, if
   both addresses are returned, in which order they are listed, can
   affect what type of IP traffic is generated.  If the IPv6 address is
   returned, the node will communicate with that destination using IPv6
   packets (in most cases encapsulated in IPv4); If the IPv4 address is
   returned, the communication will use IPv4 packets.

   The way that DNS resolver implementations handle redundant records
   for IPv4-compatible addresses may depend on whether that
   implementation supports automatic tunneling, or whether it is
   enabled.  For example, an implementation that does not support
   automatic tunneling would not return IPv4-compatible IPv6 addresses
   to applications because those destinations are generally only
   reachable via tunneling.  On the other hand, those implementations in
   which automatic tunneling is supported and enabled may elect to
   return only the IPv4-compatible IPv6 address and not the IPv4
   address.

4. IPv6-over-IPv4 Tunneling

   In most deployment scenarios, the IPv6 routing infrastructure will be
   built up over time.  While the IPv6 infrastructure is being deployed,
   the existing IPv4 routing infrastructure can remain functional, and
   can be used to carry IPv6 traffic.  Tunneling provides a way to
   utilize an existing IPv4 routing infrastructure to carry IPv6
   traffic.

   IPv6/IPv4 hosts and routers can tunnel IPv6 datagrams over regions of
   IPv4 routing topology by encapsulating them within IPv4 packets.
   Tunneling can be used in a variety of ways:

   -    Router-to-Router.  IPv6/IPv4 routers interconnected by an IPv4
        infrastructure can tunnel IPv6 packets between themselves.  In
        this case, the tunnel spans one segment of the end-to-end path
        that the IPv6 packet takes.

   -    Host-to-Router.  IPv6/IPv4 hosts can tunnel IPv6 packets to an
        intermediary IPv6/IPv4 router that is reachable via an IPv4
        infrastructure.  This type of tunnel spans the first segment
        of the packet's end-to-end path.

   -    Host-to-Host.  IPv6/IPv4 hosts that are interconnected by an
        IPv4 infrastructure can tunnel IPv6 packets between
        themselves.  In this case, the tunnel spans the entire
        end-to-end path that the packet takes.

   -    Router-to-Host. IPv6/IPv4 routers can tunnel IPv6 packets to
        their final destination IPv6/IPv4 host.  This tunnel spans
        only the last segment of the end-to-end path.

   Tunneling techniques are usually classified according to the
   mechanism by which the encapsulating node determines the address of
   the node at the end of the tunnel.  In the first two tunneling
   methods listed above -- router-to-router and host-to-router -- the
   IPv6 packet is being tunneled to a router.  The endpoint of this type
   of tunnel is an intermediary router which must decapsulate the IPv6
   packet and forward it on to its final destination.  When tunneling to
   a router, the endpoint of the tunnel is different from the
   destination of the packet being tunneled.  So the addresses in the
   IPv6 packet being tunneled do not provide the IPv4 address of the
   tunnel endpoint.  Instead, the tunnel endpoint address must be
   determined from configuration information on the node performing the
   tunneling.  We use the term "configured tunneling" to describe the
   type of tunneling where the endpoint is explicitly configured.

   In the last two tunneling methods -- host-to-host and router-to-host
   -- the IPv6 packet is tunneled all the way to its final destination.

   The tunnel endpoint is the node to which the IPv6 packet is
   addressed.  Since the endpoint of the tunnel is the destination of
   the IPv6 packet, the tunnel endpoint can be determined from the
   destination IPv6 address of that packet: If that address is an IPv4-
   compatible address, then the low-order 32-bits hold the IPv4 address
   of the destination node, and that can be used as the tunnel endpoint
   address.  This technique avoids the need to explicitly configure the
   tunnel endpoint address.  Deriving the tunnel endpoint address from
   the embedded IPv4 address of the packet's IPv6 address is termed
   "automatic tunneling".

   The two tunneling techniques -- automatic and configured -- differ
   primarily in how they determine the tunnel endpoint address.  Most of
   the underlying mechanisms are the same:

   -    The entry node of the tunnel (the encapsulating node) creates an
        encapsulating IPv4 header and transmits the encapsulated packet.

   -    The exit node of the tunnel (the decapsulating node) receives
        the encapsulated packet, removes the IPv4 header, updates the
        IPv6 header, and processes the received IPv6 packet.

   -    The encapsulating node may need to maintain soft state
        information for each tunnel recording such parameters as the MTU
        of the tunnel in order to process IPv6 packets forwarded into
        the tunnel.  Since the number of tunnels that any one host or
        router may be using may grow to be quite large, this state
        information can be cached and discarded when not in use.

   The next section discusses the common mechanisms that apply to both
   types of tunneling.  Subsequent sections discuss how the tunnel
   endpoint address is determined for automatic and configured
   tunneling.

4.1. Common Tunneling Mechanisms

   The encapsulation of an IPv6 datagram in IPv4 is shown below:

                                        +-------------+
                                        |    IPv4     |
                                        |   Header    |
        +-------------+                 +-------------+
        |    IPv6     |                 |    IPv6     |
        |   Header    |                 |   Header    |
        +-------------+                 +-------------+
        |  Transport  |                 |  Transport  |
        |   Layer     |      ===>       |   Layer     |
        |   Header    |                 |   Header    |
        +-------------+                 +-------------+
        |             |                 |             |
        ~    Data     ~                 ~    Data     ~
        |             |                 |             |
        +-------------+                 +-------------+

                      Encapsulating IPv6 in IPv4

   In addition to adding an IPv4 header, the encapsulating node also has
   to handle some more complex issues:

  -     Determine when to fragment and when to report an ICMP "packet
        too big" error back to the source.

  -     How to reflect IPv4 ICMP errors from routers along the tunnel
        path back to the source as IPv6 ICMP errors.

   Those issues are discussed in the following sections.

4.1.1.  Tunnel MTU and Fragmentation

   The encapsulating node could view encapsulation as IPv6 using IPv4 as
   a link layer with a very large MTU (65535-20 bytes to be exact; 20
   bytes "extra" are needed for the encapsulating IPv4 header).  The
   encapsulating node would need only to report IPv6 ICMP "packet too
   big" errors back to the source for packets that exceed this MTU.
   However, such a scheme would be inefficient for two reasons:

  1)    It would result in more fragmentation than needed. IPv4 layer
        fragmentation should be avoided due to the performance problems
        caused by the loss unit being smaller than the retransmission
        unit [11].

  2)    Any IPv4 fragmentation occurring inside the tunnel would have to
        be reassembled at the tunnel endpoint.  For tunnels that
        terminate at a router, this would require additional memory to
        reassemble the IPv4 fragments into a complete IPv6 packet before
        that packet could be forwarded onward.

   The fragmentation inside the tunnel can be reduced to a minimum by
   having the encapsulating node track the IPv4 Path MTU across the
   tunnel, using the IPv4 Path MTU Discovery Protocol [8] and recording
   the resulting path MTU.  The IPv6 layer in the encapsulating node can
   then view a tunnel as a link layer with an MTU equal to the IPv4 path
   MTU, minus the size of the encapsulating IPv4 header.

   Note that this does not completely eliminate IPv4 fragmentation in
   the case when the IPv4 path MTU would result in an IPv6 MTU less than
   576 bytes. (Any link layer used by IPv6 has to have an MTU of at
   least 576 bytes [4].) In this case the IPv6 layer has to "see" a link
   layer with an MTU of 576 bytes and the encapsulating node has to use
   IPv4 fragmentation in order to forward the 576 byte IPv6 packets.

   The encapsulating node can employ the following algorithm to
   determine when to forward an IPv6 packet that is larger than the
   tunnel's path MTU using IPv4 fragmentation, and when to return an
   IPv6 ICMP "packet too big" message:

        if (IPv4 path MTU - 20) is less than or equal to 576
                if packet is larger than 576 bytes
                        Send IPv6 ICMP "packet too big" with MTU = 576.
                        Drop packet.
                else
                        Encapsulate but do not set the Don't Fragment
                        flag in the IPv4 header. The resulting IPv4
                        packet might be fragmented by the IPv4 layer on
                        the encapsulating node or by some router along

                        the IPv4 path.
                endif
        else
                if packet is larger than (IPv4 path MTU - 20)
                        Send IPv6 ICMP "packet too big" with
                        MTU = (IPv4 path MTU - 20).
                        Drop packet.
                else
                        Encapsulate and set the Don't Fragment flag
                        in the IPv4 header.
                endif
        endif

   Encapsulating nodes that have a large number of tunnels might not be
   able to store the IPv4 Path MTU for all tunnels. Such nodes can, at
   the expense of additional fragmentation in the network, avoid using
   the IPv4 Path MTU algorithm across the tunnel and instead use the MTU
   of the link layer (under IPv4) in the above algorithm instead of the
   IPv4 path MTU.

   In this case the Don't Fragment bit must not be set in the
   encapsulating IPv4 header.

4.1.2.  Hop Limit

   IPv6-over-IPv4 tunnels are modeled as "single-hop".  That is, the
   IPv6 hop limit is decremented by 1 when an IPv6 packet traverses the
   tunnel.  The single-hop model serves to hide the existence of a
   tunnel.  The tunnel is opaque to users of the network, and is not
   detectable by network diagnostic tools such as traceroute.

   The single-hop model is implemented by having the encapsulating and
   decapsulating nodes process the IPv6 hop limit field as they would if
   they were forwarding a packet on to any other datalink.  That is,
   they decrement the hop limit by 1 when forwarding an IPv6 packet.
   (The originating node and final destination do not decrement the hop
   limit.)

   The TTL of the encapsulating IPv4 header is selected in an
   implementation dependent manner.  The current suggested value is
   published in the "Assigned Numbers RFC.  Implementations may provide
   a mechanism to allow the administrator to configure the IPv4 TTL.

4.1.3. Handling IPv4 ICMP errors

   In response to encapsulated packets it has sent into the tunnel, the
   encapsulating node may receive IPv4 ICMP error messages from IPv4
   routers inside the tunnel.  These packets are addressed to the

   encapsulating node because it is the IPv4 source of the encapsulated
   packet.

   The ICMP "packet too big" error messages are handled according to
   IPv4 Path MTU Discovery [8] and the resulting path MTU is recorded in
   the IPv4 layer.  The recorded path MTU is used by IPv6 to determine
   if an IPv6 ICMP "packet too big" error has to be generated as
   described in section 4.1.1.

   The handling of other types of ICMP error messages depends on how
   much information is included in the "packet in error" field, which
   holds the encapsulated packet that caused the error.

   Many older IPv4 routers return only 8 bytes of data beyond the IPv4
   header of the packet in error, which is not enough to include the
   address fields of the IPv6 header. More modern IPv4 routers may
   return enough data beyond the IPv4 header to include the entire IPv6
   header and possibly even the data beyond that.

   If the offending packet includes enough data, the encapsulating node
   may extract the encapsulated IPv6 packet and use it to generating an
   IPv6 ICMP message directed back to the originating IPv6 node, as
   shown below:

                +--------------+
                | IPv4 Header  |
                | dst = encaps |
                |       node   |
                +--------------+
                |     ICMP     |
                |    Header    |
         - -    +--------------+
                | IPv4 Header  |
                | src = encaps |
        IPv4    |       node   |
                +--------------+   - -
        Packet  |    IPv6      |
                |    Header    |   Original IPv6
         in     +--------------+   Packet -
                |  Transport   |   Can be used to
        Error   |    Header    |   generate an
                +--------------+   IPv6 ICMP
                |              |   error message
                ~     Data     ~   back to the source.
                |              |
         - -    +--------------+   - -

        IPv4 ICMP Error Message Returned to Encapsulating Node

4.1.4.  IPv4 Header Construction

   When encapsulating an IPv6 packet in an IPv4 datagram, the IPv4
   header fields are set as follows:

        Version:

                4

        IP Header Length in 32-bit words:

                5 (There are no IPv4 options in the encapsulating
                header.)

        Type of Service:

                0

        Total Length:

                Payload length from IPv6 header plus length of IPv6 and
                IPv4 headers (i.e. a constant 60 bytes).

        Identification:

                Generated uniquely as for any IPv4 packet transmitted by
                the system.

        Flags:

                Set the Don't Fragment (DF) flag as specified in
                section 4.1.1. Set the More Fragments (MF) bit as
                necessary if fragmenting.

        Fragment offset:

                Set as necessary if fragmenting.

        Time to Live:

                Set in implementation-specific manner.

        Protocol:

                41 (Assigned payload type number for IPv6)

        Header Checksum:

                Calculate the checksum of the IPv4 header.

        Source Address:

                IPv4 address of outgoing interface of the
                encapsulating node.

        Destination Address:

                IPv4 address of tunnel endpoint.

   Any IPv6 options are preserved in the packet (after the IPv6 header).

4.1.5. Decapsulating IPv6-in-IPv4 Packets

   When an IPv6/IPv4 host or a router receives an IPv4 datagram that is
   addressed to one of its own IPv4 address, and the value of the
   protocol field is 41, it removes the IPv4 header and submits the IPv6
   datagram to its IPv6 layer code.

   The decapsulation is shown below:

        +-------------+
        |    IPv4     |
        |   Header    |
        +-------------+                 +-------------+
        |    IPv6     |                 |    IPv6     |
        |   Header    |                 |   Header    |
        +-------------+                 +-------------+
        |  Transport  |                 |  Transport  |
        |   Layer     |      ===>       |   Layer     |
        |   Header    |                 |   Header    |
        +-------------+                 +-------------+
        |             |                 |             |
        ~    Data     ~                 ~    Data     ~
        |             |                 |             |
        +-------------+                 +-------------+

                    Decapsulating IPv6 from IPv4

   When decapsulating the IPv6-in-IPv4 packet, the IPv6 header is not
   modified.  If the packet is subsequently forwarded, its hop limit is
   decremented by one.

   The encapsulating IPv4 header is discarded.

   The decapsulating node performs IPv4 reassembly before decapsulating
   the IPv6 packet.  All IPv6 options are preserved even if the
   encapsulating IPv4 packet is fragmented.

   After the IPv6 packet is decapsulated, it is processed the same as
   any received IPv6 packet.

4.2. Configured Tunneling

   In configured tunneling, the tunnel endpoint address is determined
   from configuration information in the encapsulating node.  For each
   tunnel, the encapsulating node must store the tunnel endpoint
   address.  When an IPv6 packet is transmitted over a tunnel, the
   tunnel endpoint address configured for that tunnel is used as the
   destination address for the encapsulating IPv4 header.

   The determination of which packets to tunnel is usually made by
   routing information on the encapsulating node.  This is usually done
   via a routing table, which directs packets based on their destination
   address using the prefix mask and match technique.

4.2.1. Default Configured Tunnel

   Nodes that are connected to IPv4 routing infrastructures may use a
   configured tunnel to reach an IPv6 "backbone".  If the IPv4 address
   of an IPv6/IPv4 router bordering the backbone is known, a tunnel can
   be configured to that router.  This tunnel can be configured into the
   routing table as a "default route".  That is, all IPv6 destination
   addresses will match the route and could potentially traverse the
   tunnel.  Since the "mask length" of such default route is zero, it
   will be used only if there are no other routes with a longer mask
   that match the destination.

   The tunnel endpoint address of such a default tunnel could be the
   IPv4 address of one IPv6/IPv4 router at the border of the IPv6
   backbone.  Alternatively, the tunnel endpoint could be an IPv4
   "anycast address".  With this approach, multiple IPv6/IPv4 routers at
   the border advertise IPv4 reachability to the same IPv4 address.  All
   of these routers accept packets to this address as their own, and
   will decapsulate IPv6 packets tunneled to this address.  When an
   IPv6/IPv4 node sends an encapsulated packet to this address, it will
   be delivered to only one of the border routers, but the sending node
   will not know which one.  The IPv4 routing system will generally
   carry the traffic to the closest router.

   Using a default tunnel to an IPv4 "anycast address" provides a high
   degree of robustness since multiple border router can be provided,
   and, using the normal fallback mechanisms of IPv4 routing, traffic

   will automatically switch to another router when one goes down.

4.3. Automatic Tunneling

   In automatic tunneling, the tunnel endpoint address is determined
   from the packet being tunneled.  The destination IPv6 address in the
   packet must be an IPv4-compatible address.  If it is, the IPv4
   address component of that address -- the low-order 32-bits -- are
   extracted and used as the tunnel endpoint address.  IPv6 packets that
   are not addressed to an IPv4-compatible address can not be tunneled
   using automatic tunneling.

   IPv6/IPv4 nodes need to determine which IPv6 packets can be sent via
   automatic tunneling.  One technique is to use the IPv6 routing table
   to direct automatic tunneling.  An implementation can have a special
   static routing table entry for the prefix 0:0:0:0:0:0/96.  (That is,
   a route to the all-zeros prefix with a 96-bit mask.)  Packets that
   match this prefix are sent to a pseudo-interface driver which
   performs automatic tunneling.  Since all IPv4-compatible IPv6
   addresses will match this prefix, all packets to those destinations
   will be auto-tunneled.

4.4. Default Sending Algorithm

   This section presents a combined IPv4 and IPv6 sending algorithm that
   IPv6/IPv4 nodes can use.  The algorithm can be used to determine when
   to send IPv4 packets, when to send IPv6 packets, and when to perform
   automatic and configured tunneling.  It illustrates how the
   techniques of dual IP layer, configured tunneling, and automatic
   tunneling can be used together.  Note that is just an example to show
   how the techniques can be combined; IPv6/IPv6 implementations may
   provide different algorithms.  This algorithm has the following
   properties:

   -    Sends IPv4 packets to all IPv4 destinations.

   -    Sends IPv6 packets to all IPv6 destinations on the same link.

   -    Using automatic tunneling, sends IPv6 packets encapsulated in
        IPv4 to IPv6 destinations with IPv4-compatible addresses that
        are located off-link.

   -    Sends IPv6 packets to IPv6 destinations located off-link when
        IPv6 routers are present.

   -    Using the default IPv6 tunnel, sends IPv6 packets encapsulated
        in IPv4 to IPv6 destinations with IPv6-only addresses when no
        IPv6 routers are present.

The algorithm is as follows:

  1)    If the address of the end node is an IPv4 address then:

          1.1)  If the destination is located on an attached link, then
                send an IPv4 packet addressed to the end node.

          1.2)  If the destination is located off-link, then;

                1.2.1)  If there is an IPv4 router on link, then send an
                        IPv4 format packet.  The IPv4 destination
                        address is the IPv4 address of the end node.
                        The datalink address is the datalink address of
                        the IPv4 router.

                1.2.2)  Else, the destination is treated as
                        "unreachable" because it is located off link and
                        there are no on-link routers.

  2)    If the address of the end node is an IPv4-compatible IPv6
        address (i.e. bears the prefix 0:0:0:0:0:0), then:

          2.1)  If the destination is located on an attached link, then
                send an IPv6 format packet (not encapsulated).  The IPv6
                destination address is the IPv6 address of the end node.
                The datalink address is the datalink address of the end
                node.

          2.2)  If the destination is located off-link, then:

                2.2.1)  If there is an IPv4 router on an attached link,
                        then send an IPv6 packet encapsulated in IPv4.
                        The IPv6 destination address is the address of
                        the end node.  The IPv4 destination address is
                        the low-order 32-bits of the end node's address.
                        The datalink address is the datalink address of
                        the IPv4 router.

                2.2.2)  Else, if there is an IPv6 router on an attached
                        link, then send an IPv6 format packet.  The IPv6
                        destination address is the IPv6 address of the
                        end node.  The datalink address is the datalink
                        address of the IPv6 router.

                2.2.3)  Else, the destination is treated as
                        "unreachable" because it is located off-link and
                        there are no on-link routers.

   3)   If the address of the end node is an IPv6-only address, then:

          3.1)  If the destination is located on an attached link, then
                send an IPv6 format packet.  The IPv6 destination
                address is the IPv6 address of the end node.  The
                datalink address is the datalink address of the end
                node.

          3.2)  If the destination is located off-link, then:

                3.2.1)  If there is an IPv6 router on an attached link,
                        then send an IPv6 format packet.  The IPv6
                        destination address is the IPv6 address of the
                        end node.  The datalink address is the datalink
                        address of the IPv6 router.

                3.2.2)  Else, if the destination is reachable via a
                        configured tunnel, and there is an IPv4 router
                        on an attached link, then send an IPv6
                        packet encapsulated in IPv4.  The IPv6
                        destination address is the address of the end
                        node.  The IPv4 destination address is the
                        configured IPv4 address of the tunnel endpoint.
                        The datalink address is the datalink address of
                        the IPv4 router.

                3.2.3)  Else, the destination is treated as
                        "unreachable" because it is located off-link and
                        there are no on-link IPv6 routers.

A summary of these sending rules are given in the table below:

End         | End     | IPv4    | IPv6    | Packet |      |      |
Node        | Node    | Router  | Router  | Format | IPv6 | IPv4 | DLink
Address     | On      | On      | On      | To     | Dest | Dest | Dest
Type        | Link?   | Link?   | Link?   | Send   | Addr | Addr | Addr
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv4        | Yes     |  N/A    |  N/A    | IPv4   |  N/A |  E4  | EL
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv4        | No      |  Yes    |  N/A    | IPv4   |  N/A |  E4  | RL
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv4        | No      |  No     |  N/A    | UNRCH  |  N/A |  N/A | N/A
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv4-compat | Yes     |  N/A    |  N/A    | IPv6   |  E6  |  N/A | EL
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv4-compat | No      |  Yes    |  N/A    | IPv6/4 |  E6  |  E4  | RL
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv4-compat | No      |  No     |  Yes    | IPv6   |  E6  |  N/A | RL
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv4-compat | No      |  No     |  No     | UNRCH  |  N/A |  N/A | N/A
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv6-only   | Yes     |  N/A    |  N/A    | IPv6   |  E6  |  N/A | EL
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv6-only   | No      |  N/A    |  Yes    | IPv6   |  E6  |  N/A | RL
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv6-only   | No      |  Yes    |  No     | IPv6/4 |  E6  |  T4  | RL
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------
IPv6-only   | No      |  No     |  No     | UNRCH  |  N/A |  N/A | N/A
------------+---------+---------+---------+--------+------+------+------

        Key to Abbreviations
        --------------------
        N/A:    Not applicable or does not matter.
        E6:     IPv6 address of end node.
        E4:     IPv4 address of end node (low-order 32-bits of
                IPv4-compatible address).
        EL:     Datalink address of end node.
        T4:     IPv4 address of the tunnel endpoint.
        R6:     IPv6 address of router.
        R4:     IPv4 address of router.
        RL:     Datalink address of router.
        IPv4:   IPv4 packet format.
        IPv6:   IPv6 packet format.
        IPv6/4: IPv6 encapsulated in IPv4 packet format.
        UNRCH:  Destination is unreachable.  Don't send a packet.

4.4.1  On/Off Link Determination

   Part of the process of determining what packet format to use includes
   determining whether a destination is located on an attached link or
   not.  IPv4 and IPv6 employ different mechanisms.  IPv4 uses an
   algorithm in which the destination address and the interface address
   are both logically ANDed with the netmask of the interface and then
   compared.  If the resulting two values match, then the destination is
   located on-link.  This algorithm is discussed in more detail in
   Section 3.3.1.1 of the host requirements specification [10].  IPv6
   uses the neighbor discovery algorithm described in "Neighbor
   Discovery for IP Version 6" [7].

   IPv6/IPv4 nodes need to use both methods:

   -    If a destination is an IPv4 address, then the on/off link
        determination is made by comparison with the netmask, as
        described in RFC 1122 section 3.3.1.1.

   -    If a destination is represented by an IPv4-compatible IPv6
        address (prefix 0:0:0:0:0:0), the decision is made using the
        IPv4 netmask comparison algorithm using the low-order 32-bits
        (IPv4 address part) of the destination address.

  -     If the destination is represented by an IPv6-only address
        (prefix other than 0:0:0:0:0:0), the on/off link determination
        is made using the IPv6 neighbor discovery mechanism.

5. Acknowledgements

   We would like to thank the members of the IPng working group and the
   IPng transition working group for their many contributions and
   extensive review of this document.  Special thanks to Jim Bound, Ross
   Callon, and Bob Hinden for many helpful suggestions and to John Moy
   for suggesting the IPv4 "anycast address" default tunnel technique.

6.  Security Considerations

   Security issues are not discussed in this memo.

7. Authors' Addresses

   Robert E. Gilligan
   Sun Microsystems, Inc.
   2550 Garcia Ave.
   Mailstop UMTV 05-44
   Mountain View, California 94043

   Phone: 415-336-1012
   Fax:   415-336-6015
   EMail: Bob.Gilligan@Eng.Sun.COM

   Erik Nordmark
   Sun Microsystems, Inc.
   2550 Garcia Ave.
   Mailstop UMTV 05-44
   Mountain View, California 94043

   Phone: 415-336-2788
   Fax:   415-336-6015
   EMail: Erik.Nordmark@Eng.Sun.COM

7. References

   [1] Croft, W., and J. Gilmore, "Bootstrap Protocol", RFC 951,
       September 1985.

   [2] Droms, R., "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol", RFC 1541.
       October 1993.

   [3] Bound, J., "Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for IPv6 for IPv6
       (DHCPv6)", Work in Progress, November 1995.

   [4] Deering, S., and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6 (IPv6)
       Specification", RFC 1883, December 1995.

   [5] Thomson, S., and T. Nartan, "IPv6 Stateless Address
       Autoconfiguration, Work in Progress, December 1995.

   [6] Thomson, S., and C. Huitema. "DNS Extensions to support IP
       version 6", RFC 1886, December 1995.

   [7] Nartan, T., Nordmark, E., and W. Simpson, "Neighbor Discovery for
       IP Version 6 (IPv6)", Work in Progress, November 1995.

   [8] Mogul, J., and S. Deering, "Path MTU Discovery", RFC 1191,
       November 1990.

   [9] Finlayson, R., Mann, T., Mogul, J., and M. Theimer, "Reverse
       Address Resolution Protocol", RFC 903, June 1984.

  [10] Braden, R., "Requirements for Internet Hosts - Communication
       Layers", STD 3, RFC 1122, October 1989.

  [11] Kent, C., and J. Mogul, "Fragmentation Considered Harmful".  In
       Proc.  SIGCOMM '87 Workshop on Frontiers in Computer
       Communications Technology.  August 1987.

 

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