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Fun with IPv6

If you know anything about IPv6, you know that it expands the number of possible IP addresses to an unimaginably large scale. This relieves the pressing shortage of IP addresses being faced today in IPv4, so that there will be addresses available for all the new web sites, printers, cars and light bulbs that will need them.

IPv6 does this trick by using nice, big 128 bit addresses which are noted in hexadecimal.  And the hexadecimal is where some fun comes in.

I’m not kidding: Fun!  The fun is that hexadecimal addresses include, as you know, A,B,C,D,E, and F in addition to numerics. So, now those with a technical bent can actually start to spell some things even in the numeric addresses. It was inevitable that some clever people would combine the hex notation of IPv6 with the Internet tradition of “leetspeak.” (Leets are a kind of cute code, as you probably know, where you can replace letters with numbers that look similar. O becomes zero, L or T become 7, S becomes 5, G becomes 6, etc. Hence the name L33T (or more correctly 1337). Well, with ABCDEF in addition to the numbers, there are some fun possibilities for IP addresses.  Letters? Leets? Imagine the possibilities for clever numeric addresses!)

We’ve already seen a couple in the wild:

Facebook’s IPv6 address:

face:b00c (“facebooc”)

Full address:  2620:0:1cfe:face:b00c::3

A Cisco IPv6 test address:

c:15c0:d06:f00d (“cisco dogfood” as in “test your own dogfood”)

Full address:  2001:420:80:1:c:15c0:d06:f00d

Of course, the only people who will ever see these addresses are people who speak in hextets, which makes them all the more fun. (Most people will never see these addresses, because IPv6 is nicely invisible to users and you’ll still type to get the Facebook, for example).

We haven’t seen any others yet, but Cisco’s Phil Remaker suggests that perhaps could use CAFE or the National Cattlemen’s Association would use BEEF or that the LA County Coroner’s Office (and its gift shop) could use DEAD (if My Chemical Romance or the Grateful Dead‘s don’t grab it first).

Underneath this humor is a serious fact: The world is running out of IPv4 addresses, and the world’s technology companies and organizations are working together on the upcoming World IPv6 day on June 8th to test IPv6 end to end in action.  You’ll be reading quite a lot more about the benefits and lore of IPv6 in coming days and weeks.

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Cisco Network Management: Now with New and Improved Management Across the IP NGN

Contributed by David Flesh, Sr Manager, Product Marketing, Cisco Network Management Technology Group

If you’re a network administrator, at times it may seem like the IP network traffic and volume of IP addresses and devices you oversee are increasing at an unmanageable pace.  On top of that, the complexity and size of IP networks continue to expand, and network operators are beginning to transition to IPv6 and introduce new technologies and services into their networks (VoIP, video, cloud computing, virtualization, etc.). Network operators need to accelerate provisioning and simplify service activation.

Given the mission-critical importance of DNS and DHCP services in today’s service provider and enterprise networks, you now face huge challenges with IP address management that must be addressed. Without a fast, reliable, and secure DNS service, subscribers’ broadband Internet access will be compromised. If DNS fails, the Internet will fail. Likewise, DHCP is a core network access technology – every device must be assigned a unique address when connected to the network, a virtually impossible task to undertake manually.

To effectively address these challenges, network administrators need an integrated solution for DNS, DHCP, IPAM (DDI) to effectively manage IP address growth and help automate the adoption of IPv6.

And that’s just what Cisco is now providing.

As part of its service provider network management portfolio, Cisco is introducing Cisco Network Registrar 7.2 which provides an integrated, scalable, reliable solution for DDI across multiple technologies to simplify management of IP addresses and the transition to IPv6. Cisco Network Registrar is the industry’s fastest and most scalable DHCP server – able to assign more than 47,000 leases per second on a Cisco B-Series UCS platform (and 14,000 leases per second on a non-Cisco hardware platform) and support more than 50 million devices in a single customer deployment.

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IPv6 Automatic Addressing

Can anyone remember a time before DHCP?

In those dark days, some poor IT technician maintained a document mapping specific IP addresses to individual devices.  People had to ensure that they connected a new device to the correct subnet cable and that they entered address parameters carefully since a simple typographical error could knock an important server offline.  While protocols like BOOTP emerged to help provision devices, the manual tedium of mapping users to fixed IP addresses remained.

It was this environment that inspired the IPv6 Stateless Address AutoConfiguration (SLAAC) protocol.  The size of the IPv6 address space made it possible for a device to autonomously create a unique address once it learned the local router’s IPv6 prefix.  No requests, no central server, and no manual management.  Any IPv6 device dropped on an active IPv6 network could start communicating right away.

IPv4 users took a different path to “plug and play” networking.  BOOTP evolved into DHCP, where one-to-one mapping gave way to a system in which a server could dynamically hand out time-limited IPv4 address “leases” to devices on a subnet without any user intervention.  In addition, DHCP could administrative parameters (options) to these devices.  Finally, the server provided centralized tracking and administrative control over IP address assignment. Read More »


The Federal Government and IPv6 World Day

As you may know, June 8th is going to be an important day for the Internet!

It is World IPv6 Day :

This day for 24 hours, most of the majors content providers will enable IPv6 on their front door. is going to be one of these web sites that will be reachable on IPv6 Internet, among 100’s of others globally, including  Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing, Akamai and many more. You can see the complete list of participants here.

Notably, many of the Federal Government Agencies are also participating such as:

National Library of Medicine

United States Federal Aviation Administration

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

United States Office of Personnel Management

National Technical Information Service

United States Census Bureau


US Department of Veterans Affairs

Cisco has been very much leading the industry through this transition. The TAC (technical Assistance Center) and the service organization will support both the planning phase of World IPv6 Day, as well as providing customer support.

Government has been at the forefront of  IPv6, and should continue to take the lead on this effort.  Please read our whitepaper on the subject (you have to register) and check out our Federal IPv6 Site.

And I’ll make this offer – any Government Agency that would like to participate in World IPv6 Day but needs a little help through the transition, please write me directly and we’ll get you lots of help.

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On The Edge: Innovations that Break Down Borders

The best way to predict the future is to create it.”Peter Drucker

In 1989, a couple of amazing changes occurred that are still affecting our world today. The Berlin Wall fell, and a little company called Cisco developed the Border Gateway Protocol so routers could eventually connect the entire world. These developments still reverberate through our lives as outdated social, political, and economic borders continue to break down, and we enjoy more freedom than ever to connect and interact with virtually anyone.

While the public debate on the abstract value of these freedoms continues, most private organizations see very concrete value in giving their employees, partners, and customers the ability to connect globally using any type of device or media. And they’re investing accordingly.

For example, more than half of all companies surveyed* have already spent some of their precious I.T. budgets deploying video or collaborative applications, allowing personal devices for work use, or adopting software as a service models. Of course, these new innovations also require more bandwidth and more security; but leading organizations are minimizing additional costs and earning ROI sooner by integrating these new technologies directly into their routing infrastructure, which in turn can actually reduce overall traffic loads and complexity.

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