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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) R. Gagliano Request for Comments: 5963 Cisco Systems Category: Informational August 2010 ISSN: 2070-1721

         IPv6 Deployment in Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)


 This document provides guidance on IPv6 deployment in Internet
 Exchange Points (IXPs).  It includes information regarding the switch
 fabric configuration, the addressing plan and general organizational
 tasks that need to be performed.  IXPs are mainly a Layer 2
 infrastructure, and, in many cases, the best recommendations suggest
 that the IPv6 data, control, and management plane should not be
 handled differently than in IPv4.

Status of This Memo

 This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
 published for informational purposes.
 This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
 (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
 received public review and has been approved for publication by the
 Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
 approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet
 Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.
 Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
 and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

 Copyright (c) 2010 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
 document authors.  All rights reserved.
 This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
 Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
 ( in effect on the date of
 publication of this document.  Please review these documents
 carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
 to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
 include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
 the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
 described in the Simplified BSD License.

Gagliano Informational [Page 1] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

Table of Contents

 1. Introduction ....................................................2
 2. Switch Fabric Configuration .....................................2
 3. Addressing Plan .................................................3
 4. Multicast IPv6 ..................................................5
    4.1. Multicast Support and Monitoring for Neighbor
         Discovery at an IXP ........................................6
    4.2. IPv6 Multicast Traffic Exchange at an IXP ..................6
 5. Reverse DNS .....................................................7
 6. Route-Server ....................................................7
 7. External and Internal Support ...................................7
 8. IXP Policies and IPv6 ...........................................8
 9. Security Considerations .........................................8
 10. Acknowledgements ...............................................8
 11. Informative References .........................................8

1. Introduction

 Most Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) work at the Layer 2 level,
 making the adoption of IPv6 an easy task.  However, IXPs normally
 implement additional services such as statistics, route servers,
 looking glasses, and broadcast controls that may be impacted by the
 implementation of IPv6.  This document clarifies the impact of IPv6
 on a new or an existing IXP.  The document assumes an Ethernet switch
 fabric, although other Layer 2 configurations could be deployed.

2. Switch Fabric Configuration

 An Ethernet-based IXP switch fabric implements IPv6 over Ethernet as
 described in [RFC2464] .  Therefore, the switching of IPv6 traffic
 happens in the same way as in IPv4.  However, some management
 functions (such as switch management, SNMP (Simple Network Management
 Protocol) [RFC3411] support, or flow analysis exportation) may
 require IPv6 as an underlying layer, and this should be assessed by
 the IXP operator.
 There are two common configurations of IXP switch ports to support
 1.  dual-stack LAN (Local Area Network): when both IPv4 and IPv6
     traffic share a common LAN.  No extra configuration is required
     in the switch.
 2.  independent VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network)[IEEE.P802-1Q.1998]:
     when an IXP logically separates IPv4 and IPv6 traffic in
     different VLANs.

Gagliano Informational [Page 2] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

 In both configurations, IPv6 and IPv4 traffic can either share a
 common physical port or use independent physical ports.  The use of
 independent ports can be more costly in both capital expenses (as new
 ports are needed) and operational expenses.
 When using the same physical port for both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic,
 some changes may be needed at the participants' interfaces'
 configurations.  If the IXP implements the "dual-stack
 configuration", IXP's participants will configure dual-stack
 interfaces.  On the other hand, if the IXP implements the
 "independent VLAN configuration", IXP participants are required to
 pass one additional VLAN tag across the interconnection.  In this
 case, if the IXP did not originally use VLAN tagging, VLAN tagging
 should be established and the previously configured LAN may continue
 untagged as a "native VLAN" or be transitioned to a tagged VLAN.  The
 "independent VLAN" configuration provides a logical separation of
 IPv4 and IPv6 traffic, simplifying separate statistical analysis for
 IPv4 and IPv6 traffic.  Conversely, the "dual-stack" configuration
 (when performing separate statistical analysis for IPv4 and IPv6
 traffic) would require the use of flow techniques such as IPFIX (IP
 Flow Information Export) [RFC5101] to classify traffic based on the
 different Ethertypes (0x0800 for IPv4, 0x0806 for ARP (Address
 Resolution Protocol), and 0x86DD for IPv6).
 The only technical requirement for IPv6 referring link MTUs is that
 they need to be greater than or equal to 1280 octets [RFC2460].  The
 MTU size for every LAN in an IXP should be well known by all its

3. Addressing Plan

 Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) have specific address policies to
 assign Provider Independent (PI) IPv6 addresses to IXPs.  Those
 allocations are usually /48 or shorter prefixes [RIR_IXP_POLICIES].
 Depending on the country and region of operation, address assignments
 may be made by NIRs (National Internet Registries).  Unique Local
 IPv6 Unicast Addresses ([RFC4193]) are normally not used in an IXP
 LAN as global reverse DNS resolution and whois services are required.
 IXPs will normally use manual address configuration.  The manual
 configuration of IPv6 addresses allows IXP participants to replace
 network interfaces with no need to reconfigure Border Gateway
 Protocol (BGP) sessions' information, and it also facilitates
 management tasks.  The IPv6 Addressing Architecture [RFC4291]
 requires that interface identifiers are 64 bits in size for prefixes
 not starting with binary 000, resulting in a maximum prefix length of
 /64.  Longer prefix lengths up to /127 have been used operationally.

Gagliano Informational [Page 3] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

 If prefix lengths longer than 64 bits are chosen, the implications
 described in [RFC3627] need to be considered.  A /48 prefix allows
 the addressing of 65536 /64 LANs.
 When selecting the use of static Interface Identifiers (IIDs), there
 are different options on how to fill its 64 bits (or 16 hexadecimal
 characters).  A non-exhaustive list of possible IID selection
 mechanisms is the following:
 1.  Some IXPs like to include the decimal encoding of each
     participant's ASN (Autonomous System Number) inside its
     correspondent IPv6 address.  The ASN decimal number is used as
     the BCD (binary code decimal) encoding of the upper part of the
     IID such as shown in this example:
  • IXP LAN prefix: 2001:db8::/64
  • ASN: 64496
  • IPv6 Address: 2001:db8:0000:0000:0000:0006:4496:0001/64 or its

equivalent representation 2001:db8::6:4496:1/64

     In this example, we are right-justifying the participant's ASN
     number from the 112nd bit.  Remember that 32-bit ASNs require a
     maximum of 10 characters.  With this example, up to 2^16 IPv6
     addresses can be configured per ASN.
 2.  Although BCD encoding is more "human-readable", some IXPs prefer
     to use the hexadecimal encoding of the ASNs number as the upper
     part of the IID as follow:
  • IXP LAN prefix: 2001:db8::/64
  • ASN: 64496 (DEC) or fbf0 (HEX)
  • IPv6 Address: 2001:db8:0000:0000:0000:0000:fbf0:0001/64 or its

equivalent representation 2001:db8::fbf0:1/64

     In this case, a maximum of 8 characters will be needed to
     represent 32-bit ASNs.
 3.  A third scheme for statically assigning IPv6 addresses on an IXP
     LAN could be to relate some portions of a participant's IPv6
     address to its IPv4 address.  In the following example, the last
     four decimals of the IPv4 address are copied to the last
     hexadecimals of the IPv6 address, using the decimal number as the
     BCD encoding for the last three characters of the IID such as in
     the following example:

Gagliano Informational [Page 4] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

  • IXP LAN prefix: 2001:db8::/64
  • IPv4 Address:
  • IPv6 Address: 2001:db8:2::123/64
 4.  A fourth approach might be based on the IXPs ID for that
 IPv6 prefixes for IXP LANs are typically publicly well known and
 taken from dedicated IPv6 blocks for IXP assignments reserved for
 this purpose by the different RIRs.  These blocks are usually only
 meant for addressing the exchange fabric, and may be filtered out by
 DFZ (Default Free Zone) operators.  When considering the routing of
 the IXP LANs two options are identified:
 o  IXPs may decide that LANs should not to be globally routed in
    order to limit the possible origins of a Denial-of-Service (DoS)
    attack to its participants' AS (Autonomous System) boundaries.  In
    this configuration, participants may route these prefixes inside
    their networks (e.g., using BGP no-export communities or routing
    the IXP LANs within the participants' IGP) to perform fault
    management.  Using this configuration, the monitoring of the IXP
    LANs from outside of its participants' AS boundaries is not
 o  IXP may decide that LANs should (attempt to) be globally routed.
    In this case, IXP LANs monitoring from outside its participants'
    AS boundaries may be possible, but the IXP LANs will be vulnerable
    to DoS from outside of those boundaries.
 Additionally, possible IXP external services (such as DNS, web pages,
 FTP servers) need to be globally routed.  These should be addressed
 from separate address blocks, either from upstream providers' address
 space or separate independent assignments.  Strict prefix length
 filtering could be a reason for requesting more than one /48
 assignment from a RIR (i.e., requesting one /48 assignment for the
 IXPs LANs that may not be globally routed and a different, non-IXP
 /48 assignment for the IXP external services that will be globally

4. Multicast IPv6

 There are two elements that need to be evaluated when studying IPv6
 multicast in an IXP: multicast support for neighbor discovery and
 multicast peering.

Gagliano Informational [Page 5] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

4.1. Multicast Support and Monitoring for Neighbor Discovery at an IXP

 IXPs typically control broadcast traffic across the switching fabric
 in order to avoid broadcast storms by only allowing limited ARP
 [RFC0826] traffic for address resolution.  In IPv6 there is not
 broadcast support, but IXPs may intend to control multicast traffic
 in each LAN instead.  ICMPv6 Neighbor Discovery [RFC4861] implements
 the following necessary functions in an IXP switching fabric: Address
 Resolution, Neighbor Unreachability Detection, and Duplicate Address
 Detection.  In order to perform these functions, Neighbor
 Solicitation and Neighbor Advertisement packets are exchanged using
 the link-local all-nodes multicast address (ff02::1) and/or
 solicited-node multicast addresses (ff02:0:0:0:0:1:ff00:0000 to ff02:
 0:0:0:0:1:ffff:ffff).  As described in [RFC4861], routers will
 initialize their interfaces by joining their solicited-node multicast
 addresses using either Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) [RFC2710]
 or MLDv2 [RFC3810].  MLD messages may be sent to the corresponding
 group address: ff02::2 (MLD) or ff02::16 (MLDv2).  Depending on the
 addressing plan selected by the IXP, each solicited-node multicast
 group may be shared by a sub-set of participants' conditioned by how
 the last three octets of the addresses are selected.  In Section 3,
 example 1, only participants with ASNs with the same last two digits
 are going to share the same solicited-node multicast group.
 Similar to the ARP policy, an IXP may limit multicast traffic across
 the switching fabric in order to only allow ICMPv6 Neighbor
 Solicitation, Neighbor Advertisement, and MLD messages.  Configuring
 default routes in an IXP LAN without an agreement between the parties
 is normally against IXP policies.  ICMPv6 Router Advertisement
 packets should neither be issued nor accepted by routers connected to
 the IXP.  Where possible, the IXP operator should block link-local RA
 (Router Advertisement) packets using IPv6 RA-GUARD [V6OPS-RA-GUARD] .
 If this is not possible, the IXP operator should monitor the exchange
 for rogue Router Advertisement packets as described in

4.2. IPv6 Multicast Traffic Exchange at an IXP

 For IPv6 Multicast traffic exchange, an IXP may decide to use either
 the same LAN being used for unicast IPv6 traffic exchange, the same
 LAN being used for IPv4 Multicast traffic exchange, or a dedicated
 LAN for IPv6 Multicast traffic exchange.  The reason for having a
 dedicated LAN for multicast is to prevent unwanted multicast traffic
 from reaching participants that do not have multicast support.
 Protocol Independent Multicast (PIM) [RFC4601] messages will be sent
 to the link-local IPv6 'ALL-PIM-ROUTERS' multicast group ff02::d in
 the selected LAN and should be allowed.  Implementing IPv6 PIM
 snooping will allow only the participants associated with a

Gagliano Informational [Page 6] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

 particular group to receive its multicast traffic.  BGP reachability
 information for IPv6 multicast address family (SAFI=2) is normally
 exchanged using MP-BGP (Multi-Protocol BGP) [RFC4760] and is used for
 Reverse Path Forwarding (RPF) lookups performed by the IPv6 PIM.  If
 a dedicated LAN is configured for Multicast IPv6 traffic exchange,
 reachability information for IPv6 Multicast address family should be
 carried in new BGP sessions.  ICMPv6 Neighbor Discovery should be
 allowed in the Multicast IPv6 LAN as described in the previous

5. Reverse DNS

 The inclusion of PTR records for all addresses assigned to
 participants in the IXP reverse zone under "" facilitates
 troubleshooting, particularly when using tools such as traceroute.
 If reverse DNS is configured, DNS servers should be reachable over
 IPv6 transport for complete IPv6 support.

6. Route-Server

 IXPs may offer a route-server service, either for Multi-Lateral
 Peering Agreements (MLPA) service, looking-glass service, or route-
 collection service.  IPv6 support needs to be added to the BGP
 speaking router.  The equipment should be able to transport IPv6
 traffic and to support MP-BGP extensions for IPv6 address family
 ([RFC2545] and [RFC4760]).
 A good practice is that all BGP sessions used to exchange IPv6
 network information are configured using IPv6 data transport.  This
 configuration style ensures that both network reachability
 information and generic packet data transport use the same transport
 plane.  Because of the size of the IPv6 space, limiting the maximum
 number of IPv6 prefixes in every session should be studied.
 External services should be available for external IPv6 access,
 either by an IPv6 enabled web page or an IPv6 enabled console

7. External and Internal Support

 Some external services that need to have IPv6 support are traffic
 graphics, DNS, FTP, web, route server, and looking glass.  Other
 external services such as NTP servers, or SIP Gateways need to be
 evaluated as well.  In general, each service that is currently
 accessed through IPv4 or that handle IPv4 addresses should be
 evaluated for IPv6 support.

Gagliano Informational [Page 7] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

 Internal services are also important when considering IPv6 adoption
 at an IXP.  Such services may not deal with IPv6 traffic, but may
 handle IPv6 addresses; that is the case of provisioning systems,
 logging tools and statistics analysis tools.  Databases and tools
 should be evaluated for IPv6 support.

8. IXP Policies and IPv6

 IXP policies and contracts should be revised as any mention of IP
 should be clarified if it refers to IPv4, IPv6, or both.
 Policies for IPv6 traffic monitoring and filtering may be in place as
 described in Section 4.

9. Security Considerations

 This memo includes references to procedures for monitoring and/or
 avoiding particular ICMPv6 traffic at IXPs' LANs.  None of these
 procedures prevent Ethernet loops caused by mischief in the LAN.  The
 document also mentions how to limit IPv6 DoS attacks to the IXP
 switch fabric by not globally announce the IXP LANs prefix.

10. Acknowledgements

 The author would like to thank the contributions from Alain Aina,
 Bernard Tuy, Stig Venaas, Martin Levy, Nick Hilliard, Martin Pels,
 Bill Woodcock, Carlos Friacas, Arien Vijn, Fernando Gont, and Louis

11. Informative References

            Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, "Local
            and Metropolitan Area Networks: Virtual Bridged Local Area
            Networks", IEEE Draft P802.1Q, March 1998.
 [RFC0826]  Plummer, D., "Ethernet Address Resolution Protocol: Or
            converting network protocol addresses to 48.bit Ethernet
            address for transmission on Ethernet hardware", STD 37,
            RFC 826, November 1982.
 [RFC2460]  Deering, S. and R. Hinden, "Internet Protocol, Version 6
            (IPv6) Specification", RFC 2460, December 1998.
 [RFC2464]  Crawford, M., "Transmission of IPv6 Packets over Ethernet
            Networks", RFC 2464, December 1998.

Gagliano Informational [Page 8] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

 [RFC2545]  Marques, P. and F. Dupont, "Use of BGP-4 Multiprotocol
            Extensions for IPv6 Inter-Domain Routing", RFC 2545,
            March 1999.
 [RFC2710]  Deering, S., Fenner, W., and B. Haberman, "Multicast
            Listener Discovery (MLD) for IPv6", RFC 2710,
            October 1999.
 [RFC3411]  Harrington, D., Presuhn, R., and B. Wijnen, "An
            Architecture for Describing Simple Network Management
            Protocol (SNMP) Management Frameworks", STD 62, RFC 3411,
            December 2002.
 [RFC3627]  Savola, P., "Use of /127 Prefix Length Between Routers
            Considered Harmful", RFC 3627, September 2003.
 [RFC3810]  Vida, R. and L. Costa, "Multicast Listener Discovery
            Version 2 (MLDv2) for IPv6", RFC 3810, June 2004.
 [RFC4193]  Hinden, R. and B. Haberman, "Unique Local IPv6 Unicast
            Addresses", RFC 4193, October 2005.
 [RFC4291]  Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing
            Architecture", RFC 4291, February 2006.
 [RFC4601]  Fenner, B., Handley, M., Holbrook, H., and I. Kouvelas,
            "Protocol Independent Multicast - Sparse Mode (PIM-SM):
            Protocol Specification (Revised)", RFC 4601, August 2006.
 [RFC4760]  Bates, T., Chandra, R., Katz, D., and Y. Rekhter,
            "Multiprotocol Extensions for BGP-4", RFC 4760,
            January 2007.
 [RFC4861]  Narten, T., Nordmark, E., Simpson, W., and H. Soliman,
            "Neighbor Discovery for IP version 6 (IPv6)", RFC 4861,
            September 2007.
 [RFC5101]  Claise, B., "Specification of the IP Flow Information
            Export (IPFIX) Protocol for the Exchange of IP Traffic
            Flow Information", RFC 5101, January 2008.
            Numbers Resource Organization (NRO)., "RIRs Allocations
            Policies for IXP. NRO Comparison matrix", 2009,

Gagliano Informational [Page 9] RFC 5963 IPv6 in IXPs August 2010

            Levy-Abegnoli, E., Velde, G., Popoviciu, C., and J.
            Mohacsi, "IPv6 RA-Guard", Work in Progress, June 2010.
            Chown, T. and S. Venaas, "Rogue IPv6 Router Advertisement
            Problem Statement", Work in Progress, June 2010.

Author's Address

 Roque Gagliano
 Cisco Systems
 Avenue des Uttins 5
 Rolle,   1180

Gagliano Informational [Page 10]

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