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IPv6

What is IPv6?

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is an advanced networking standard wherein devices use longer IP addresses than in the older standard (IPv4). With billions of devices already on the internet, and continuing to grow at a rapid rate, the older IPv4 standard is unable to provide enough unique addresses for new devices.

Why is IPv6 needed?

As per analysts, by 2020, the number of Internet-connected devices will increase to range between 25 and 50 billion. As the number of devices increase, the number of IP addresses needed to use them will increase as well. However, the internet is running out of IPv4 addresses. This is where IPv6 comes in. Its longer addresses allow an exponentially greater number of users and devices to access the Internet.

Under IPv4, every IP address is 32 bits long. This allows for 4.3 billion unique addresses. Here’s an example of an IPv4 address:
203.0.113.1

IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long. This allows for about 340 trillion trillion trillion unique IP addresses which is more than than the number of stars estimated by NASA or more than the total number of atoms in the universe. These aren’t about to run out anytime soon. Here’s an example of an IPv6 address:
6efb:2230:23fc:23cc:b00b:5fc3:13bc:7ff7

The larger number of addresses have become more important than ever before as we develop devices that users may not even interact with directly. The user may purchase devices for specific functions in their home, for example simple energy management monitors. Largely, these devices act autonomously with no direct network management. We classify these devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) category. Such devices are often purchased in groups and deployed, thereby leading to a substantial increase in Internet connected devices in homes.

Besides the tremendous number of addresses to support more devices, there are other benefits from the newer IPv6 protocol.

  • More efficient routing from a prefix allocation scheme that allows better route aggregation.
  • Enhanced packet processing procedures such as elimination of router-based fragmentation overhead, segregation of optional packet fields, and removal of IPv6 packet header checksums lead to simpler hardware forwarding mechanisms.
  • Direct protocol support for security mechanisms like IPSEC.
  • Elimination of the need for network address translation (NAT) means direct peer-to-peer communication is possible, and a single service port type can be served by more than one endpoint at home.
  • Stateless automatic configuration of clients allows reduced cost of network management by elimination of protocols like DHCPv4, which hinders network scaling.
  • The use of multicast communication for common tasks by IPv6 means clients can choose to awaken only when they have registered to receive certain types of communications, thereby allowing greater power savings.

Turn on IPv6

When IPv6 is enabled on Google Wifi, it uses the DHCPv6 protocol on its WAN port to request an address from your ISP. If the ISP supports the DHCPv6 protocol and has provisioned addresses for routers, then the router will obtain its own IPv6 address. Google Wifi then starts sending IPv6 routing advertisements to clients to allow them to pick and validate their own IPv6 addresses using a procedure called StateLess Address AutoConfiguration (SLAAC or “slack”). So overall, the availability of IPv6 involves support by your ISP, your Google Wifi router system, your client devices, and the nature of the applications which run on the devices. IPv6 support must be available on all these entities for it to work.

Note: Google Wifi uses a dual-stack implementation, which means that IPv4 traffic and IPv6 traffic will coexist on the same network (both wired and wireless). Google Wifi does not support IPv6 transitional protocols such as 6to4 or 6rd.

Android

1. Open the Google Wifi app.

2. Tap the tab then Network & general.

3. Under the ‘Network’ section, tap Advanced networking.

4. Tap IPv6.

5. Switch the toggle to the ON position.

iOS

1. Open the Google Wifi app.

2. Tap the tab then Network Settings.

3. Under the ‘Network’ section, tap Advanced networking.

4. Tap IPv6.

5. Switch the toggle to the ON position and tap Save.

IPv6 Prefix

The IPv6 prefix is the equivalent of a WAN address in IPv4. It’s provided by your Internet service provider (ISP). The prefix is used by routers and clients to assign the rest of the address to generate the complete 128-bit IPv6 address. This client address generation process is also known as Stateless Address Autoconfiguration (SLAAC).

To find the IPv6 prefix for a device:

  1. Open the Google Wifi app.
  2. Select the  tab and tap Devices.
  3. Select the device you want, then tap the Details tab.


Google Wifi feature behavior with IPv6 (August 2017 software release only)

  • Port forwarding is something used with NAT on IPv4 networks, so it does not make sense to use it for IPv6 networks. However, any IPv4 port forwarding rules will remain in effect in Google Wifi. Port Opening functionality with IPv6 will be supported in an upcoming software release.
  • DHCP IP reservations are not used for IPv6 addresses. But DHCP reservations for IPv4 will remain in effect.
  • Google Wifi does not support custom DNS server selection for IPv6. When DNS mode is set to custom, Google Wifi will use Google DNS servers for queries over IPv6. IPv4 queries will be sent to the server specified by the user on the Custom DNS panel in the app.
  • Support for the above features will be added in a future release.
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