IPv6 networking at IU

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About IPv6

IP addresses are used to uniquely identify hosts on a network and to address communication messages between these hosts. IPv6 is the successor protocol to IPv4, which is the dominant numbering scheme used on the Internet today. IPv6 was primarily developed to resolve the shortage of available IP addresses in IPv4 by expanding the size of the address from 32 bits (IPv4) to 128 bits (IPv6).

IPv6 is defined by Internet Engineering Task Force RFC 2460.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which assigns IP address blocks to regional registries, exhausted their IPv4 address pools on February 3, 2011. There is a compelling reason for all Internet hosts to adopt the new IPv6 protocol; see the American Registry of Internet Numbers' (ARIN) IPV4 Depletion.

Indiana University supports the IPv6 protocol on the wired and wireless networks. Historically, the IU network negotiated IPv6 addresses using Stateless Auto-Configuration (SLAC). Currently, the IU network is in the process of retiring SLAC in favor of using newer DHCP protocols to assign IPv6 addresses.

You do not need to take any special action to take advantage of IPv6 at IU. If your computer or portable device supports IPv6 DHCP, it will automatically be assigned a globally unique IPv6 address.

IPv6 usage should be transparent (i.e., you should not notice when your network device is using IPv6 vs. IPv4). When your IPv6-capable device looks up the hostname for a target system, it will choose to use an IPv6 address, if one is available. For example, if you type http://www.google.com into a web browser, your computer will first look up the IP addresses associated with "www.google.com". If an IPv6 address is returned and your computer has IPv6 connectivity, your computer will generally choose to use the IPv6 address. If your computer does not have IPv6 connectivity or if no IPv6 address is returned, your computer will use one of the available IPv4 addresses.

An IPv6 address is significantly longer than an IPv4 address; DNS entries will therefore become more valuable, since it will likely be easier to remember a name rather than a 128-bit address.

IU does not support IPv6 tunneling over IPv4.

IPv6 will co-exist with IPv4 for the foreseeable future. Although IPv4 addresses are near exhaustion, IPv4 will continue to be used by the majority of Internet devices for the next few years during the IPv6 transition, and IPv4 will likely be used for some resources for an extended period of time.

For more, see DHCPv6 on Wikipedia.

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Operating systems and IPv6

Operating systems that support IPv6 DHCP natively

  • Windows 8.x
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista
  • Mac OS X 10.7 or later

Operating systems that support IPv6 DHCP with configuration changes or use of a third-party client

Some older systems may not natively support IPv6 DHCP and thus will not get an IPv6 address without configuration adjustments. For the foreseeable future, these systems can natively retain general connectivity by defaulting to IPv4 DHCP. Alternatively, many such systems will connect via IPv6 DHCP with additional configuration changes or through use of a third-party client.

The following operating systems support IPv6 with additional configuration changes or through use of a third-party client:

  • Mac OS X 10.6 (requires third-party client)
  • Free BSD 9.0 and greater
  • Ubuntu Linux 10.04 and greater
  • Fedora Linux 13 and greater
  • Suse Linux 11 and greater

For more, see Wikipedia's Comparison of IPv6 support in operating systems.

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This is document bbxm in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-04-28 00:00:00.

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