network cisco ccna gns3 certification arteq

network cisco ccna gns3 certification arteq
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Friday, October 19, 2012

by Iljitsch van Beijnum...

say his name 1 time fast...

just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...  blame it on however you pronounce his name... it simply never ends...

Differences Between IPv4 and IPv6

All knowledge about IPv6 begins with studying the IPv6 header format and the ways in which it is different from the IPv4 header format. Even though at the time the IPv6 specifications were written 64-bit CPUs were rare, the IPv6 designers elected to optimize the IPv6 header for 64-bit processing. For this reason, I have drawn the IPv6 header 64 bits wide in Figure 1, a little different from the way it is usually depicted. Because 64-bit CPUs can read one 64-bit-wide memory word at a time, it is helpful that fields that are 64 bits (or a multiple of 64 bits) wide start at an even 64-bit boundary. Because every 64-bit boundary is also a 32-bit boundary, 32-bit CPUs aren’t affected negatively by 64-bit optimization. The IPv4 header is presented in the usual form that highlights its 32-bit background.

The fields in the IPv4 header that are not present in the IPv6 header have gray text; the field that is present in IPv6 but not in IPv4 is shown in italic. The changes from IPv4 to IPv6 follow:
  • Version now always contains 6 rather than 4.
  • The Internet Header Length (IHL) field that indicates the length of the IPv4 header is no longer needed because the IPv6 header is always 40 bytes long.
  • Type of Service is now Traffic Class. The original semantics of the IPv4 Type of Service field have been superseded by the diffserv semantics per RFC 2474 [3]. However, in IPv4, both interpretations of the field are in use (although most routers either cannot or are not configured to look at the field anyway). The IPv6 RFCs do not mandate a specific way to use the Traffic Class field, but generally the RFC 2474 diffserv interpretation is assumed.
  • The Flow Label is new in IPv6. The idea is that packets belonging to the same stream, session, or flow share a common flow label value, making the session easily recognizable without having to look “deep” into the packet. Recognizing a stream or session is often useful in Quality of Service mechanisms. Although few implementations actually look at the flow label, most systems do set different flow labels for packets belonging to different TCP sessions. A zero value in this field means that setting a flow label per session is either not supported or not desired.
  • The Total Length is the length of the IPv4 packet including the header, but in IPv6, the Payload Length does not include the 40-byte IPv6 header, thereby saving the host or router receiving a packet from having to check whether the packet is large enough to hold the IP header in the first place—making for a small efficiency gain. Despite the name, the Payload Length field includes the length of any additional headers, not just the length of the user data.
  • The Identification, Flags, and Fragment Offset fields are used when IPv4 packets must be fragmented. Fragmentation in IPv6 works very differently (explained later), so these fields are relegated to a header of their own.
  • Time to Live (TTL) is now called Hop Limit. This field is initialized with a suitable value at the origin of a packet and decremented by each router along the way. When the field reaches zero, the packet is destroyed. This way, packets cannot circle the network forever when there are loops. Per RFC 791 [4], the IPv4 TTL field should be decremented by the number of seconds that a packet is buffered in a router, but keeping track of how long packets are buffered is too difficult to implement, regardless of buffering time. The new name is a better description of what actually happens.
  • The Protocol field in IPv4 is replaced by Next Header in IPv6. In both cases, the field indicates the type of header that follows the IPv4 or IPv6 header. In most cases, the value of this field would be 6 for TCP or 17 for the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Because the IPv6 header has a fixed length, any options such as source routing or fragmentation must be implemented as additional headers that sit between the IPv6 header and the higher-layer protocol such as TCP, forming a “protocol chain.”
  • The IPv4 Header Checksum was removed in IPv6.
  • The Source Address and Destination Address serve the same function in IPv6 as in IPv4, except that they are now four times as long at 128 bits.
All IPv6 hosts and routers are required to support a maximum packet size of at least 1280 bytes. For lower-layer protocols that cannot support a Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) of 1280 bytes, the relevant “IPv6 over …” standard must have a mechanism to break up and reassemble IPv6 packets so that the minimum of 1280 bytes can be accommodated. In IPv4, the official minimum size is 68 bytes—too low to be workable.


In IPv4, the IP header is protected by a header checksum, and higher-layer protocols generally also have a checksum. The checksum algorithm for the IPv4 header, Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), ICMPv6, TCP, and UDP is the same one’s complement addition, except that in IPv4, UDP packets may forego checksumming and simply set the checksum field to zero. In IPv6, this practice is no longer allowed: UDP packets must have a valid checksum.
The TCP, UDP, and ICMPv6 checksums are computed over a “pseudoheader” and the TCP, UDP, or ICMPv6 header, and user data, respectively. The pseudoheader consists of the source and destination addresses, the upper-layer packet length, and the protocol number. Including this information in the checksum calculation ensures that TCP, UDP, or ICMPv6 do not process packets that were delivered incorrectly, for instance, because of a bit error in the IP header.
IPv6 no longer has a header checksum to protect the IP header, meaning that when a packet header is corrupted by transmission errors, the packet is very likely to be delivered incorrectly. However, higher-layer protocols should be able to detect these problems, so they are not fatal. Also, lower layers almost always employ a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) to detect errors.

Extension Headers

To allow special processing along the way, IPv4 allows extension of the IP header with one or more options. These options are rarely used today, both because they do not really solve common problems and because packets with options cannot be processed in the “fast path,” and many routers and firewalls block some or all options. Not unlike the checkout counters at a grocery store, many routers have several “paths” that packets may follow: a fast one, implemented in hardware or highly optimized software, that supports only the most common operations (no checks), and one or more slower paths that use more advanced but slower software code that supports less common operations such as looking at IP options. However, many modern routers have only a fast path, so using additional features does not lead to a performance penalty.

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