Transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 in Windows Server 2016: Dual IP Stack & Tunnels

Instructor: Euan Russano

Euan has a Phd degree in Engineering and offers private training and tutoring in Programming and Engineering.

In this lesson, you will learn about transitioning from IPV4 to IPV6 in Windows Server. Also, you will learn about standardized steps and concepts involved in this transition like dual IP stack, tunneling, and its configuration.

The transition from IPV4 to IPV6 is not a global requirement and is not centrally coordinated. This allows websites and Internet Service Providers (ISP's) to transition at their own will. To minimize dependency during the transition, a solution like not requiring routers to be upgraded to IPV6 was implemented.

Transition Requirements

Transitioning is a delicate process and requires an organization to make preparations so that the process is smooth and is completed within a short time to avoid paralyzing other operations. Experienced data consultants and technicians are also required to analyze the current infrastructure and advise what needs to be changed. These experts will also choose the best transition method that fits an organization.

IPV4 to IPV6 Transition Methods

The main methods used to transition a network from IPV4 to IPV6 are:

a) Dual-Stack

Dual-stack is considered as the simplest way of transitioning. In some cases, the devices in use do not require change and will run well after the transition. In dual-stack, each node and routers run both protocols with IPV6 communication being preferred if available.

The most common dual-stack migration approach is first enabling two TCP/IP protocols on the core routers. After this is done, the routers and firewalls are configured followed by the server-farm routers and finally the desktop access routers. When the network can support both IPV6 and IPV4 protocols, dual-stack protocols are enabled on the servers and computer systems, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1 - Dual Stack Protocol Architecture.
Figure 1 - Dual Stack Protocol Architecture.

b) Tunneling

Tunneling primarily involves placing IPV6 packets inside IPV4 packets and routing them through IPV4 routers. The structure of such a method is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Tunneling Mechanism.
Figure 2 - Tunneling Mechanism.

Tunnels consist of three main protocols;

  • Passenger protocol: This is the protocol that needs to be encapsulated;
  • Carrier protocol: This the protocol that is used to encapsulate the passenger protocol
  • Transport protocol: This is the protocol that is used to carry the encapsulated protocol. An instance is when IPV4 is used as a transport for encapsulated IPV6 packets.

A tunnel is enabled by the following steps:

Step 1: Configure the tunnel with the command 'switch# configure terminal '. This enables global configuration mode

Step 2: Allow creation of a new interface with command 'Switch(config)# feature tunnel'

(to disable a tunnel, the word no is inserted before the command i.e 'no Switch(config)# feature tunnel')

Step 3: Display information about features enabled on the device using the command 'switch(config)# show feature'

Step 4: Copy the running configuration to the tunnel's startup configuration by using the command 'switch(config)# copy running-config startup-config'

For IPV6 there are numerous tunneling methods available.

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